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Newsnight exposes varying levels of brain injury care

Professor Mike Barnes, Chair of UKABIF was interviewed by the BBC during an investigation which highlighted the variable levels of care provided to patients with acquired brain injury (ABI) in specialist neurological rehabilitation units.

Newsnight, which aired on Monday 18 November, showed secretly-filmed footage of one patient’s treatment at a unit pertaining to offer specialist care despite only one member of staff having the requisite training.
NHS England told the BBC it is working to improve specialist rehabilitation for patients with such complex needs.

Professor Michael Barnes, a specialist in neurological rehabilitation medicine who chairs the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum, said: “There are some very good rehabilitation centres in this country, but equally I’m afraid there are units in this country that really don’t provide proper co-ordinated rehabilitation at all.

“And yet that’s what they are called. And that, I think, is a sad reflection and something needs to be done about that.”

Every 90 seconds someone in the UK suffers a brain injury. There can be many causes, such as a bleed to the brain, a fall, an assault – often it is the result of a road accident.

Following an injury of this sort, the brain has to rebuild pathways to allow the person who has suffered the injury to re-learn the things they once took for granted, and that is why specialist rehabilitation and good care are so vital.