Westminster Hall debate 6th February 2020
12 February 2020
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) began its parliamentary year with a Westminster Hall debate on February 6th. Chris Bryant MP, APPG chair, opened the debate with a wide-ranging speech touching on the key areas of concern raised in its 2018 Time for Change report that still require concerted government action. In addition, the issues of ABI among military veterans and the homeless were highlighted by MPs from across the political spectrum.
The government response to the debate came from Caroline Dinenage MP, Minister of State for Health. She acknowledged the work done in this field by charities such as UKABIF and repeated the government’s commitment to pursue a cross-departmental taskforce to address the range of issues faced by those with an ABI by all the relevant government agencies saying she could “feel the frustration” at government’s “silo working”.
In addition, she noted that the NHS’s Long-Term Plan includes personalised care and social prescribing in its goals and we await the Workforce Plan to review staffing. She feels that Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding should be more holistic and needs and not diagnosis-based. The minister felt that there was provision for free parking for those with a long-term condition and would try to get an undertaking in writing that that would be extended to their families. She agreed that Rehabilitation Prescriptions, written in clear language and held by the patient are “really important” and said that they were used in 95% of cases. Finally, she acknowledged that local service providers and commissioners should review the capacity and pathways in Specialist Rehabilitation as an audit showed that only 40% of patients are getting the services they require.
Addressing points raised outside her department, Ms Dinenage said the Department for Education is reviewing its SEND Code of Practice so there is an opportunity to include ABI in that wording and Department for Work and Pensions benefits assessors now have access to ABI training.
To quote Chris Bryant MP in his closing remarks in the debate, UKABIF and the APPG will continue to metaphorically “kick some shins” to ensure that we get the co-ordinated approach that we need across government so that those people with an ABI get the care, opportunities and future they deserve.
The full debate can be found here https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/29ec994f-466a-4f41-a68b-06314992b146