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News & Press: UKABIF

UKABIF 11TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2019 Driving change in neurorehabilitation

13 November 2019   (0 Comments)
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Dr Andrew Bateman, UKABIF Chair and James Piercy, UKABIF Trustee and Science communicator, welcomed over 250 delegates to the organisation’s 11th Annual Conference, held this week at London’s Royal Society of Medicine. The words ‘time for change’ echoed throughout the day as the conference programme discussed the workstreams flowing from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) report ‘Acquired Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation: Time for Change’ published in September 2018.

 

   


Opening the conference Professor David Menon, Head, Division of Anaesthesia, University of Cambridge and Honorary Consultant, Neurosciences Critical Care Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge said: “Neurotrauma is, and will remain, the biggest cause of neurodisability, but it continues to be under-resourced and presents many challenges for societal care. Being alive following a brain injury is not enough – we need to know the extent of the injury and the predictable outcomes.” There is a burden of mortality over a 10-12 year period post-injury due to the chronic sequelae, and also infection susceptibility which results from immune response modulation. This burden reinforces the need for long-term care. Professor Menon discussed the key issues in the ‘Time for Change’ report and said: “UKABIF and the APPG on ABI have made a huge impact in raising awareness of ABI and driving change. We need to continue to ensure individuals with life-long disability receive the long-term care and support they require.”

       

 

A head-on collision in France left the second speaker of the day, Dr Raymond Lynch, with debilitating head and spinal injuries. Through determination and the help of a neuropsychologist he turned his life around and, with the support of his employer Proctor and Gamble (P&G), he now consults with the UK Government and London-area hospitals on brain injury. Dr Lynch discussed the ‘Return To Work’ (RTW) Toolkit that he has developed for P&G employees worldwide with brain injury, their managers, peers and families.

UKABIF 2019 conference delegates reflect during the two minute silence held for Remembrance Day.

Unfortunately due to the General Election MPs, Chris Bryant, Liz Twist and Sir John Hayes, who are driving the APPG on ABI were unable to attend the conference. In their place Dr Bateman discussed the aspirations of the APPG and highlighted the work being done as a direct result of UKABIF and the APPG engagement. He encouraged attendees to communicate with their local candidates for the general election and spoke of the resources, which are available here. https://ukabif.org.uk/page/CampaignGeneralElection2019

 

   

 

Mental health and neurorehabilitation are traditionally segregated, but as Dr Mike Dilley, Consultant Neuropsychiatrist in Neurorehabilitation, Brain and Mind said: “Mental health needs to be integrated in to neurosciences and neurorehabilitation”. Neurological conditions and psychological problems are inextricably linked; studies have shown that there is an increased mortality after brain injury and mental health problems worsen life expectancy. Accessing mental services as part of a continuous chain of rehabilitation can be extremely challenging and early access is an essential part of recovery. “The system urgently needs to be integrated” concluded Dr Dilley.

The focus on change was reiterated by Trevor Sterling, Partner at Moore Blatch regarding injury cost recovery. There has been no review of cost recovery since the Major Trauma Centres were introduced, and the extent of the shortfall in injury costs to the NHS is unknown. Current legislation is outdated and the NHS is underfunded as a consequence. Mr Sterling said: “We urgently need new legislation, and as a minimum, a review of the existing legislation which could facilitate increased funding for neurorehabilitation”.

The Silverlining Brain Injury Charity, founded in 2006, shared the experiences of 23 of its members when they recently went to Namibia in Africa. The film of the group’s experience was a powerful reminder of the need and importance to invigorate, motivate, nurture and enable individuals with brain injury.

       

 

Drs Emily Bennett and Emily Talbot, Consultant Clinical Psychologists in Paediatric Neuropsychology, Nottingham Children’s Hospital outlined the importance of communication, education, monitoring, and adapting in order to support children and young people with an ABI in the education system. Education is one of the work streams in the Time for Change report, with emphasis on the need to train teaching professionals about ABI and facilitate change for children and young people with ABI.

       

 

Professor Diane Playford, Professor of Neurological Rehabilitation, University of Warwick and Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust and Ines Kander PhD student at Warwick University highlighted once again the need to change the community rehabilitation system which is, at best ineffective, and at worst unavailable. Professor Playford said: “Commissioning services for neurorehabilitation is complex with Level 1 commissioned by NHS England, Level 2 by the Clinical Commissioning Groups and no clear pathway for Level 3. Health professionals work in silos and consequently individuals with ABI fall down the cracks.” Professor Playford reiterated the lack of Rehabilitation Medicine Consultants, Multidisciplinary Team members, poor information provision and inadequate long-term funding. The Thames Valley Strategic Clinical Network is developing a model for community rehabilitation. “We constantly underestimate the number of individuals requiring neurorehabilitation in the community, and their inability to navigate the system. People need access to multiple services, neurorehabilitation for a longer time period and a Linkworker to facilitate progress through the pathway. We need to do it smarter and differently” concluded Professor Playford.

 

   

   

 

Several awards were presented during the conference. Two new UKABIF Chair’s Merit Awards were presented to Susan Pattinson, Physiotherapist at STP Therapy Services and Hannah Farrell, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Neuro-Traumatology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in recognition for their work in making change happen in neurorehabilitation. The remainder of the awards were sponsored by Cygnet Healthcare; The Stephen McAleese Award for Inspiration went Dr Melanie George, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust for her work in raising awareness of the Frontal Lobe Paradox and educating social workers. The new Mike Barnes Innovation Award, run in collaboration with the National Institute for Health Research, went to Merryn Dowson, Assistant Psychologist at Clinical Neuropsychology Services Ltd. This year delegates were able to vote for the Poster Award which went to Charlie Flint of Chroma.

 

       

 

UKABIF would like to thank the conference sponsors Cygnet Health Care, Irwin Mitchell solicitors, Leigh Day, Manton Heights ABI Unit, Sintons Law and Stoke Active, the many companies that exhibited and the excellent poster presentations.

See you all next year!


Contact UKABIF
Box 2539, Kemp House, 152-160 City Road
London, EC1V 2NX
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UKABIF is a registered charity number 1128284 and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales Company Number: 6520608. Address of the Company's Registered Office: Box 2539, Kemp House, 152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX