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‘Hold independent review into diagnosis times’

New report calls for action of lengthy wait to receive neurological diagnosis, and tackle lack of information for patients

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An independent review must be held into diagnosis of neurological conditions to help cut waiting times, give more much-needed information and support mental health, a new report has concluded. 

The It’s All In Your Head report collected information and experiences of over 800 people with neurological conditions about their diagnosis experience, from their first concerns to life after receiving a diagnosis. 

The report, by The Brain Charity, is now calling for action after revealing the need for change through its findings. 

  • Nearly half (48 per cent) left their first GP appointment not feeling well-informed about the next steps towards diagnosis or treatment
  • More than a third (37 per cent) wait two years or more for a diagnosis of a neurological condition
  • Half of people (49 per cent) say a lack of support and information led to feelings of fear for the future
  • One in three (35 per cent) have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety after being diagnosed with a neurological condition

There are 800,000 hospital admissions per year due to neurological conditions, with people often arriving at A&E at the point of crisis.

Early diagnosis is key to reducing this number and supporting people on what can be an uncertain and frightening journey, from the very earliest days. 

The Brain Charity’s research finds poor diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions is a serious issue facing the UK, with failings costing the NHS money and impacting the broader economy.

The system as it stands is characterised by poor support for patients, long waits for diagnosis, and a preventable mental health crisis.

And action must be taken to ensure people are properly supported, says the charity, which works nationally from its Liverpool headquarters. 

Pippa Sargent, CEO of The Brain Charity, said: “There are one in six people living with a neurological condition right now in the UK.

“The findings of the It’s all in your head report are stark, painting a picture of fear, isolation and helplessness. For too many people, delays and a lack of information and support exacerbates what is already a harrowing journey.

“The Brain Charity is calling for an independent review into the length of time it takes for people with neurological conditions to receive a diagnosis. 

“It is imperative we improve the experiences of those who are seeking a diagnosis and provide reassurance and understanding at what is undoubtedly a distressing time.”

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