Brain Injury Care in Wales a 'postcode lottery'


Patients with brain injuries in some areas of Wales are receiving 'patchy' treatment according to doctors, workers and health campaigners. Head injury patients in Cardiff and Swansea can expect the excellent treatment they deserve – but outside of these areas there is an "element of postcode lottery", as uncovered by the BBC Wales programme Taro Naw.

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The programme discovered that in areas of west Wales and the south-east valleys there are no specialist brain injury care services for communities and patients don’t receive consistent care. In fact, the standard of treatment for head injury patients varies so widely from area to area that a consultant at Rookwood Hospital -a specialist neurological rehabilitation centre - in Cardiff, Dr Jenny Thomas said: "Outside the major urban areas like Cardiff and Swansea we have to see what is available, so there is an element of postcode lottery".

"I wouldn’t say that care for patients is any worse in those areas, but we certainly have to keep patients in hospital longer than we would if there were specialist teams in their areas."

This then leads to bed blocking as patients can’t be moved through the system as quickly as they should be which leaves others needing treatment waiting for a bed.

Campaigners including the brain injury charity Headway are fighting for more consistent care for head injury patients in Wales. Clive Davis, from Headway in Swansea, said: "...there's no specialist community service to the west of Swansea. The boundary ends at the Loughor river and people living in west Wales have nothing".

And it seems that north Wales is served by only one dedicated brain injury services team based in Colwyn Bay.

It’s clear that head injury services in some areas of Wales need significant improvement, and it’s to be hoped that Headway and other campaigners make that aim a reality.

Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors are approved panel members of Headway and fully support the charity's aim "to promote an understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to people with brain injury, their families and carers".

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