At the end of last year, UKABIF helped launch an All Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury, along with Chris Bryant MP who will serve as chair.
Members include five vice-chairs: Carolyn Harris, Chris Evans, Paul Flynn, Stephen Hammond, and Kevin Baron; the treasurer is Lord Ramsbotham.
We have set this APPG up to raise awareness of ABI and seek improvements in support and services for people directly affected by ABI and also their families and carers, to provide a voice for those who are not always heard by Ministers and MPs, and to be the main forum for ABI in Parliament, raising key issues across health, social care and welfare which all affect people living with ABI in the UK.
On Tuesday 30th January 2018, the APPG held its first roundtable meeting entitled:
Acquired Brain Injury – the cost to individuals and society and some solutions: Neurorehabilitation Services and the role of the Rehabilitation Prescription
The meeting took the format of a select committee meeting, whereby experts present evidence on an issue, and parliamentarians follow up with topic-related questions. Eventually a report will be made based on the meetings findings.
Professor Mike Barnes opened the meeting with an introduction to acquired brain injury. He explained the current landscape around neurorehabilitation, and how services are failing the increasing number of ABI survivors. Professor Lynne Turner-Stokes then elaborated on this, presenting the meeting with evidence demonstrating the huge importance of neurorehabilitation in the achieving the best recovery possible after suffering an acquired brain injury.
Hannah Farrell, a physiotherapist in neuro-traumatology later addressed the issue of the Rehabilitation Prescription. This is a simple sheet that clinicians are supposed to fill in outlining the rehabilitation needs of an ABI survivor (or any patient who has suffered trauma). It is supposed to be given to the patient, their GP and their family/carer; currently it is not. Hannah explained to the meeting how vital this is in ensuring an individual receiver proper and appropriate treatment along the whole care pathway following ABI.
Finally James Piercy, and ABI survivor, gave a presentation showing the lasting impact and acquired brain injury can have on an individual, and again, emphasising the importance of neurorehabilitation in a good recovery.
We felt the meeting was a great success, and we are currently in the process of analysing the information that will go into our up-coming report on the issue