On Monday 18th June, the House of Commons was filled with passionate voices sharing experiences of life after a brain injury, and a unified plea for more joined up, and readily available services for those affected.

Whether through injury or as a result of stroke, a person’s recovery and life with an ABI can be dramatically altered by the immediacy and quality of the rehabilitation and joined up care they receive after their injury. An ABI can affect physical, mental and emotional capabilities, and swift effective rehabilitation can massively improve the rate and level of recovery.

Headway, the national brain injury charity, estimate that every 90 seconds, someone with an acquired brain injury (ABI) is admitted into hospital and highlight that in the past decade, the number of people needing support for an ABI has increased dramatically.

Additional to physical and mental needs, services to support the family, enable work, and intervene in criminal rehabilitation were all highlighted.

As well as the variety of emotive life examples given across the Commons, facts and figures also painted a vivid picture. MP for Dewsbury Paula Sherriff summed them up succinctly when she said, ‘A report by the Centre for Mental Health stated that 1.3 million people live with the effects of brain injury, at a cost to the UK economy of £15 billion per annum, based on premature death, the health and social care required, and lost work contributions and continuing disability. This cost is the equivalent of 10% of the annual NHS budget.’

The comprehensive debate ended with a call for a coordinated taskforce across a raft of relevant departments including health, education, justice, and work and pensions, to respond to this ‘invisible epidemic’, as one speaker put it, and to ask for sufficient funds for services.

We hope this marks the beginning of change for those affected by ABI, and for more coordination across departments and services in general, to the benefit of all those living with a long-term neurological condition.

 

More information

  • Read the Hansard transcript of the debate here.
  • Understand the benefits of early and continued rehabilitation here and here.
  • View the Headway infographic on the latest statistics for ABI here.

  

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