‘Patients of brain illness neglected by authorities’

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CAMPAIGNERS are calling for action to tackle a “legacy of neglect” they say is preventing 12 million people living with neurological conditions in the UK from getting vital treatment.

The Neurological Alliance, speaking at the start of Brain Awareness Week, warned that a lack of specialist knowledge and “haphazard” services could stop people getting the help and treatment they need.

The coalition of health charities said there needed to be fast improvements and investment in services to deal with growing numbers of patients.

Estimates predict that cases of Parkinson’s disease alone are set to increase by 25 per cent in the next decade.

Arlene Wilkie, chief executive of the Neurological Alliance, said: “Around one in six people in the UK will experience a neurological condition in their lifetime, yet little is being done to ensure that the NHS is fit for purpose when it comes to ­responding to these complex conditions.”

Ms Wilkie said reports had shown that local services for ­patients needed to be improved.

A report from the Sue Ryder charity revealed only 5 per cent of local authorities were aware of how many individuals with a neurological condition they cared for. Ms Wilkie said this meant that people living with a host of conditions ranging from ataxia through to Tourette’s were being overlooked.

“Too little investment in research and lack of knowledge about the brain has forced many people to fight titanic battles simply to gain the right diagnosis for their condition – a process which can sometimes take years,” Ms ­Wilkie added.

As part of Brain Awareness Week, the Neurological Alliance is launching an initiative to build a clear picture of just how difficult it can be to get the right diagnosis.