Healthwatch Bucks worked with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust to gather feedback on neurological rehabilitation services. This was part of an ongoing project to inform how services are redesigned.

What is a neurological condition?

A neurological condition is any condition that affects the brain, spinal cord, or nervous system. Some neurological conditions can begin suddenly – for example, after a brain injury or other trauma. Some you are born with, such as epilepsy. Others, like multiple sclerosis, can develop over time.

What we did

We engaged with a sample of patients at neurology clinics to gather feedback on:

  • Communication between staff and patients
  • Service delivery and information sharing
  • Making informed choices about treatment and care
  • Patient-centred support.

Key findings

  • There were no significant differences in user experience between patients with different neurological conditions.
  • Most people said that GP referrals to neurology services should be faster.
  • Poor communication between healthcare providers was highlighted as a problem by a few patients. One suggested that the hospitals should ‘talk to each other’.
  • Some people told us that there is a lack of specialist knowledge about neurological conditions, in particular Multiple Sclerosis.
  • While most patients felt that they were involved in making choices about their treatment and care, some felt that the choice was out of their hands.

Our recommendations

Based on what we heard from patients at neurology clinics, we recommend that neurological services in Buckinghamshire consider making the following improvements:

Referrals:

  • Recommendation to improve primary care aspect of pathway – speed up GP referral pathways by ensuring that all Buckinghamshire medical practices are fully informed about NHS England Guidelines Offering Advice & Guidance: Supplementary Guidance for CQUIN (2017). Such guidelines include information about: Appropriate Referral, Inappropriate Referral, Referral Details and Additional Information.

 Appointments:

  • Schedule appointments around test results
  • Quick rescheduling of postponed appointments to improve patient satisfaction.

Joined-up working:

  • Join up rehabilitation services with a shared database of patient records for direct patient care and best practice to be fed through the Neurology Transformation Group to ensure a single point of access.

Support:

  • Provide more support and advice for carers looking after an adult with a long-term neurological condition.

Information Sharing:

  • Keep individual patients updated about new developments and treatments for neurological conditions. Better links with the research team will help to identify any new studies for entry into the services.

Personalised care package:

  • Create integrated care plans for physical and mental health needs – ensure communication between different services, i.e. social prescribers.

Downloads

Buckinghamshire Neurology Rehabilitation Services – Full report

Response from BHT

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has responded to our study. It said:

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust would like to thank Healthwatch Bucks for their helpful insights into the services for people with Neurological Conditions in our Community. There is on-going work to improve the co-ordination between the Medical, Nursing and Rehabilitation Services to support Physical and Mental Health.

Published on 24 Oct, 2023 (updated 5 Feb, 2024)

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One comment on "Buckinghamshire neurology rehabilitation services: your feedback"

  • Commenter said on 28th October 2023

    I had no problem with my GP arranging an appointment but the Consultants result has not gone to either my GP… or me. I personally believe results should go back to our GP’s so they can explain the situation. It maybe Ok, or perhaps there is a need to follow up further ? This way it does not leave the patient ‘hanging’ ..wondering if they should, or not, contact their GP,,

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