Secret Newsnight Footage Shows 'Poor' Brain Injury Care

Questions Asked About The Standard Of Brain Injury Rehabilitation Offered In The UK


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Secret footage obtained by the BBC's Newsnight programme has raised concerns about the standard of care offered to people who have suffered a serious brain injury.

The clips showed staff in rehabilitation centres ignoring safety procedures and in some cases neglecting the needs of their patients.

Chair of the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum Professor Michael Barnes told BBC News that substandard levels of care could be making it hard for injured people to make a speedy recovery.

"There are some very good rehabilitation centres in this country, but equally I'm afraid there are units in this country that really don't provide proper coordinated rehabilitation at all," he was quoted as saying.

"And that, I think, is a sad reflection and something needs to be done about that."

According to statistics provided by brain injury charity Headway, an estimated one million people in the UK are living with the long-term effects of a serious head problem and someone is admitted to hospital with an acquired injury every 90 seconds.

Mr Barnes added that the government could save huge sums of money in the long run if it invests in brain injury rehabilitation processes today.

Although it obviously costs more for a patient to stay in a care home, he stated, it does mean the person is likely to make a quicker recovery, allowing them to get back to work more promptly. This will reduce the amount of long-term support they need from the state.

The NHS insists that steps have already been taken to improve the services being offered to brain injury sufferers.

Dr John Etherington - the national clinical director for rehabilitation and recovering in the community at NHS England - told the news provider that a Clinical Reference Group has been set up to assess the commissioning of rehabilitation services.

Additionally, regional trauma networks have been launched and a review of the amount of funding that is committed to rehabilitation centres is also ongoing.

Expert Opinion
Our own research has showed that specialist early rehabilitation after someone has suffered an acquired brain injury is crucial to maximising their possible recovery.

“There is also evidence which shows that the NHS would save money if there was better, more consistent rehabilitation care, not to mention the potential savings in terms of any disability or unemployment benefits that people may not need if their rehabilitation progresses well.

“The important point is that victims suffering brain injuries get access to the best possible support and treatment as quickly as possible, and for as long as they need it to have the biggest impact.”
Neil Whiteley, Partner