Government disregards call for neurology tsar
3 May 2012
We spoke out on behalf of people with Parkinson's this week as
the Government refused to implement vital changes to improve
neurology services in England.
Services for people with neurological conditions are simply not up to scratch.
It's extremely disappointing that the Department has rejected our recommendations.
Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee
Recommendations were made by the Public
Accounts Committee in March 2012 following their
investigation into services for people with neurological conditions
such as Parkinson's.
The Government was faced with damning criticism about the
services from two of its watchdog bodies, the National Audit Office
in December 2011 and the Public Accounts Committee in January.
These reports suggested that billions of pounds of NHS and
taxpayers' money is being wasted on inappropriate, untargeted and
We, as part of the Neurological Alliance that
represents 72 charities, hoped the Government would take strong
measures to right the wrongs that had been exposed.
Ignored calls for change
Government response (PDF, report 72 in the document, pages
14-20) issued on Monday makes clear that the Department of
Health has disregarded calls for a 'neurology tsar' to help develop
a strategy to deliver better services.
They have also refused to put sufficient and fair measures or
strategies in place to ensure that the NHS and others are
effectively meeting the needs of people with neurological
Instead of taking the criticism on the chin and rectifying mistakes, the Department of Health has chosen to fudge its way out of a corner.
We will not give up the fight to improve services for people with Parkinson's.
Steve Ford, our chief executive
Professor Martin Rossor, President of the Association of British
Neurologists commented on the report:
"This is a missed opportunity that would have brought clinicians
together to make real progress on improving patient care, spending
money more efficiently and mitigating service variation."
The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Public Accounts
"Services for people with neurological conditions are simply not
up to scratch, and the implementation of the Framework for
improving neurology services has not worked.
"It is therefore extremely disappointing that the Department has
rejected our recommendations in relation to these issues.
"The Department has got to do better and we will be taking this
up with them in due course."
The Public Accounts Committee will review services for people
with neurological conditions again in 3 years time.
We will continue to fight
"Instead of taking the criticism on the chin and rectifying
mistakes," says Steve Ford, our chief executive, "the Department of
Health has chosen to fudge its way out of a corner."
"We will not give up the fight to improve services for people
with Parkinson's. We will pursue top NHS decision makers to ensure
that neurology, and Parkinson's, is adequately addressed in the new
"We will also continue to work locally to campaign for service
improvement and get neurology on the agenda of local decision