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Brain injury

MPs and charities call on Prime Minister to Back the ABI Bill

A strategy must be put in place to ensure cross-departmental working to benefit the lives of survivors, say the group

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MPs and brain charities today visited Downing Street to urge the Prime Minister to Back the ABI Bill. 

Over 200 MPs, acquired brain injury (ABI) charities, ABI survivors and other providers have signed a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to support MP Chris Bryant’s ABI Private Members Bill, which commits the government to prepare and publish a strategy to meet the needs of all children and adults with an ABI.

Signatories to the letter include former Government ministers Andrew Mitchell, Tracey Crouch and Robert Buckland and charities – UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF), Headway, The Disabilities Trust, The Children’s Trust and the Child Brain Injury Trust.

A number of these visited 10 Downing Street to urge support for the Bill, which is set to receive its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday, December 3.

ABI is an all too common cause of death and disability affecting over 1.3million people and costing £15billion to the UK economy each year. It is an issue for the Departments of Health and Social Care; Work and Pensions; Education; and Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; and the Ministries of Justice, Defence, Housing Communities and Local Government.

The letter states: “This is not just a matter for the Department of Health and Social Care. It is a matter for the whole of government, through from soldiers injured in explosions to rugby players suffering multiple concussions, children with carbon monoxide poisoning and people of every age in car crashes or living with stroke.

“Surely it is time we brought together a national strategy to prevent these injuries where possible and give people back their quality of life?”

Chris Bryant MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Acquired Brain Injury and Labour MP for the Rhondda, called on people to #BacktheABIbill. 

“We need to give people back their quality of life after they have had an acquired brain injury,” he said. 

“It affects more than one million people in this country and the government must have a plan to ensure every child and adult is properly supported.

“My Bill simply asks the government to prepare and publish a strategy so that there is cross-departmental working to meet the needs of everyone with an acquired brain injury. 

“I know this will make a huge difference to many people and hope the Prime Minister will listen to those affected and take action.”

Peter Freeman, treasurer of UKABIF and father of Nicky, who sustained a life changing brain injury at the age of 18 said: “It is an honour to join with other charities today to deliver this letter. 

“We have had to fight hard for support for our daughter and believe strongly that a plan is needed to ensure people with acquired brain injury are given access to services and support.”

Dalton Leong, chief executive of The Children’s Trust, who was among the delegation, added: “At The Children’s Trust, we see the huge challenges faced by people with brain injury every single day and at every milestone of their lives.

“Children and young people miss out on the education they deserve and the opportunities that other young people have as they transition into adulthood. This proposed strategy would be a significant driver in improving the lives of those with brain injury.”

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