Strategic clinical network for neurology (UK)

First ever national network is ‘significant coup’ for neuro community

Woman smiling, seated, holding an exercise ballThe NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) has included neurology in one of its four new strategic clinical networks (SCNs). This is the first time that neurological conditions have been recognised by the NHS as a national priority, and is a significant milestone for the neurology community.

The announcement follows our report outlining the case for exactly such a network – and we are delighted that the NHSCB has listened and taken action.

The network, which will cover neurological conditions and mental health, is one of only four SCNs announced, with the other three allocated to cancer, maternity and children’s services, and cardiovascular disease.

Sue Thomas, NCS Chief Executive, said:

‘This is a significant coup for the neurological community, and a real opportunity to improve quality and standards across the service.

‘In many areas of the country, neurological conditions scarcely figure on commissioners’ lists of priorities. This leads to fragmented, poorly co-ordinated care, not to mention the distress and crisis this brings for patients.

‘This new clinical network will provide local commissioners with much-needed strategic direction and support for neurology services. We hope it will also lead to the establishment of specific outcome measures for neurology. We’ve never had any of this before – despite it being sorely needed. The network will go a long way towards ensuring people have access to the right services, in the right place, at the right time.’

NCS recently interviewed over 30 stakeholders and opinion leaders to explore the current state of neurology services and put together a joint report, Thinking ahead: the case for a strategic clinical network for neurology, in partnership with the Neurological Alliance. We submitted this to the Department of Health to illustrate the transformative role a strategic clinical network could play in improving outcomes across the neurological spectrum.