Neurological Conditions (Young People)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 3 March 2016.

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Photo of Rhoda Grant Rhoda Grant Labour

5. To ask the First Minister what the Scottish Government is doing to ensure that young people with neurological conditions receive appropriate care. (S4F-03274)

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

National clinical standards for neurological health services were implemented in 2010. We have asked Healthcare Improvement Scotland to review how the quality of care for people with neurological conditions can be enhanced in all care settings. That assessment will reflect our national clinical strategy and health and social care integration, as well as evidence of good practice.

Furthermore, in 2016-17, we are investing £250 million through health and social care partnerships to protect and grow social care services. We are also investing £11.6 million to implement self-directed support. That will increase the availability of social care so that more people can stay at home to share their lives with their family and friends and do the things that give their lives meaning and value.

Photo of Rhoda Grant Rhoda Grant Labour

The First Minister will be aware of this week’s Sue Ryder report, which highlighted that young people with neurological conditions are being placed in older people’s care homes because of a lack of specialist residential care. It also highlighted that health boards do not know how many people in their areas have neurological conditions or what those people’s needs are. It is difficult to see how health and social care spending will impact on that. More than that, although health boards are supposed to have mandatory delivery plans for neurological services, only five boards have them.

Photo of Tricia Marwick Tricia Marwick None

Could we have a question, please?

Photo of Rhoda Grant Rhoda Grant Labour

What will the Scottish Government do? Will it show leadership? Will it deliver and drive forward a national strategy for people with neurological conditions?

The First Minister:

I am aware of the Sue Ryder report, which makes a lot of important and legitimate points. Many of those points, including the point that Rhoda Grant highlighted about care settings for people who are under 65, are driving the work that I spoke about in my earlier answer: the review that Healthcare Improvement Scotland is undertaking of how the quality of care for people with neurological conditions can be enhanced in all care settings.

As I said, clinical standards are in place for neurological services. They were implemented in 2010, and the HIS review will allow us to ensure that they remain up to date.

The extra investment in social care is pertinent because, if we invest properly in social care, we can develop the services that enable people, wherever possible, to stay and be cared for in their own homes. That is an important part of the agenda.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

What measures are there in our penal system—perhaps in our prisons—to identify and assist those who may be suffering from neurological conditions?

The First Minister:

That raises a good point, and I am happy to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to write to Christine Grahame with details of what we do in our prison system to deal with people who have neurological conditions and to reflect on whether we can and should be doing more.

For a number of different reasons, a number of people in our prison system need a lot of care and support—perhaps because some of the reasons why they have ended up in prison have been misunderstood or not properly dealt with in the first place. The category that we are discussing might well be one of those reasons, and I am happy to ask the justice secretary to write to Christine Grahame with further details.

Photo of Roderick Campbell Roderick Campbell Scottish National Party

One of the Sue Ryder report’s recommendations referred to the need to develop and implement a method for collecting and presenting data on the prevalence of neurological conditions. Does the First Minister agree that a comprehensive database is important?

The First Minister:

Yes. That was one of the many recommendations from Sue Ryder that were extremely important and sensible. I can tell the chamber that Dr John Paul Leach was recently appointed as the new chair of the national advisory committee for neurological conditions. We will work with that group specifically to improve methods of collecting and presenting data on neurological conditions, because that is part of how we ensure that services are improved in the way that they need to be.

Photo of Dave Thompson Dave Thompson Scottish National Party

Having suffered a bilateral subdural haematoma two and a half years ago, and being blessed with an excellent recovery after the fine work of Mr Kamel and his team at Aberdeen royal infirmary, I ask the First Minister to update us on the support that is provided for the ARI neurological department and for Raigmore hospital in Inverness, with which the ARI works closely in its treatment of such conditions, particularly in relation to young people.

The First Minister:

I know that Aberdeen royal infirmary has identified local clinical leaders in the care of younger people, which is to be commended. I recognise the efforts of clinicians and support staff in neurosurgery and neurology across the country, who work together to ensure safe, effective and person-centred care in all hospitals and specialist centres.

It is through joint working, such as we see taking place between Aberdeen and Inverness, as well as through primary and community care, that people of all ages are supported by local clinical teams to address any rehabilitation or other support needs as they return home. Some of the work that has been done in Aberdeen is excellent, and I am sure that other areas around the country could usefully look to it.

Photo of Richard Simpson Richard Simpson Labour

Will the First Minister tell us whether the Neurological Alliance of Scotland, which is the group of organisations that represent patients, has in fact received money? The direct grant for those organisations was stopped, but their indirect grant through the Neurological Alliance was the subject of discussion. Will the First Minister confirm that they have been funded?

The First Minister:

I am happy to look into the issue and write to the member with the detail.