New plans unveiled to improve neurological treatment planning in Wales

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Welsh epilepsy patients will benefit from a higher standard of treatment following the launch of a new strategy for treating neurological conditions in the country.

The newly-introduced Neurological Conditions Delivery Plan aims to provide a framework for action by health boards and their partners to plan and deliver individualised care for these patients, focusing on meeting population needs, tackling variation in access to services and reducing inequalities.

Key priorities include raising awareness of neurological conditions, and doing more to ensure they are diagnosed in a timely manner and treated quickly and effectively. Work will also be carried out to support those living with conditions such as epilepsy, particularly children and young people, by improving access to information and carrying out targeted research.

Health boards will be empowered to develop and implement their own plans to deliver coordinated services for patients, with specialised care set to be well connected to local services.

Meanwhile, the NHS and its partners will work to carry out local population needs assessments, analyse the gap between current systems and the requirements in the new plan, and then take action to eliminate this discrepancy. The necessary changes will be executed by 2017.

Welsh health minister Mark Drakeford said: “This plan provides the necessary guidance and clarifies required standards. We must provide excellent care, whether that is through timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment or continuing support.

“I believe we can achieve high-quality prudent care for people with a range of neurological conditions, based on a partnership between the NHS and the users.”

It is estimated that around 500,000 people in Wales are affected by a neurological condition, which can be caused by damage to the brain, spinal column or nerves as a result of illness or injury. Such conditions can often have a long-term impact on the lives of patients and their families.

In addition to epilepsy, this category of conditions includes cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and motor neurone disease.

Posted by Steve Long