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Question for Department of Health

UIN HL7369, tabled on 23 March 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the NHS of NHS England cutting the role of National Clinical Director for Adult Neurology, and the end of national funding for neurological work by clinical networks.

Answered on

4 April 2016

Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s Medical Director, has undertaken a review of the National Clinical Director (NCD) resource designed to focus clinical advisory resources on areas where major programmes of work are currently being taking forward, or areas identified as priorities for improvement. As a result of the review, NHS England has proposed to change the way in which clinical advice is received in speciality areas in the future, streamlining and strengthening its clinical advisory mechanisms in support of the Five Year Forward View and the National Health Service’s key improvement priorities.

Whilst there will no longer be a specific NCD role for neurology, NHS England will continue to secure expert clinical advice from its Clinical Networks and through its relationships with professional bodies and by appointing clinical advisors. Access to advice will be through clinical leads and members of the NHS England-funded neurology clinical networks, the Neurology Clinical Reference Group and Royal Colleges. It is expected that these new arrangements will be in place shortly.

During 2016/17, the focus of NHS England’s improvement efforts delivered through Strategic Clinical Networks will be on a smaller range of key national priorities, including cancer, mental health, diabetes, maternity and urgent and emergency care (with a focus on cardiovascular disease transformation). Whilst there is no additional funding nationally, clinical and local networks of care can determine what can be done at a local or regional level if it is considered a local or regional system priority. Nationally, the policy team is considering how key aspects of the work on neurology can be taken forward through alternative mechanisms and partners.

In addition, the Neurology Intelligence Network (NIN) is a joint partnership programme between Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England to support the generation and dissemination of neurology related health intelligence. PHE currently funds the on-going design, development and management of the NIN.