Improving neurology services in the Western Isles

NHS Western Isles has launched a Managed Clinical Network (MCN) to progress important work to further improve local neurological services.

With the launch of the new MCN, work is now underway to improve local services, as MS Awareness Week begins (April 24-30). A three-year local strategy was recently approved; the aim of which is to ensure that every patient in the Western Isles with a disorder of the nervous system experiences person-centred, high quality care, and that patients experience a substantial improvement in their quality of care and condition management.

Neurological conditions, which include Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease, and Epilepsy, affect all ages, and people may experience the onset of a neurological condition at any time in their lives. It is reported that the number of people with neurological conditions will grow sharply over the next two decades.

An estimated 10 million people in the UK live with a neurological condition that has a significant impact on their lives, accounting for 20 per cent of acute hospital admissions. A long-term neurological condition is in fact the third most common reason for seeing a general practitioner.

The Board’s three-year strategy, which was prepared in consultation with service users and key service staff, focuses on the achievement of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (NHS QIS) clinical standards for neurological health services, aimed at improving the patient journey from the point of referral into the service. Harnessing the experiences and views of patients and voluntary organisations will be central to the success of the programme. The new Neurological MCN, which includes lay members, has responsibility for service development, clinical leadership and implementing the local strategy. The specific purpose of the MCN is to link people across boundaries to improve services for the people using them.

In taking the three year strategy forward, new and innovative approaches to service development will be explored, assessed and introduced.

These developments will include the exploration of the potential benefits of an Obligate Network with another Health Board to provide access to specialised services. National guidelines will provide the framework and focus for developments and opportunities for improved service access and assisted living. The use and potential benefits of remote monitoring using technology will also be investigated.

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson, said: “NHS Western Isles is fully committed to further improving services for people with neurological conditions. The new MCN has a greater focus on preventative strategies that enable people to stay as well as possible. The main aim for us is to ensure that patients with neurological conditions and their carers can experience better clinical outcomes, an improved quality of life and higher levels of satisfaction.”