Newcastle Law Firm And Headway Issue Warning
Brain injury experts have warned that the quality of care received by people sustaining head injuries could be affected by where they live in the north east.
Brain injury patients who live in the Gateshead area are likely to have excellent access to brain injury support services, but those in Newcastle and North Tyneside are less likely to receive the care and support they need. Likewise the levels of care and support in Northumberland are better than those on Wearside, Teesside, and Co Durham.
The warning came from Newcastle-based personal injury law firm Irwin Mitchell and Headway “ the brain injury association, the organisation aimed at improving the life of brain injury survivors, who are teaming up to host an important event at Newcastle United Football Club, St James Park on 15th September.
The event is aimed at helping brain injury survivors and their family members to gain access to the full range of support and services that are available to them.
Alastair White, from Headway, warns that this means there could be thousands of people in the north east with brain injuries “ sometimes caused by relatively innocuous incidents “ but without the adequate support.
Primary Care Trust figures show that for every 100,000 people across the north east, there were 249 head injury hospital admissions, above the national average of 179 admissions per 100,000.
Symptoms of long-term brain injury can sometimes be obvious and include paralysis, epilepsy and difficulty in speaking, but they can equally go undetected and include loss of memory and concentration, mood swings and depression.
Mr White said: Brain injuries are a widely ignored issue as they often fall somewhere between physical injury and a mental injury.
The figures show that there are a lot of injuries of this kind happening to people in the north east but the care and support provided for them is patchy at best. People in Gateshead and Northumberland are well served, but that is not the case in Newcastle, Wearside, Teesside and County Durham.
The Department of Health has laid out requirements for the treatment of head and brain injury patients in its National Service Framework for Long Term Neurological Conditions but sometimes these measures are simply not in place. Headway is working hard to help ensure that the requirements are met.
Health and welfare specialist Lisa Pitts, solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, will be among the speakers at the event in September. She said: The range of brain injuries can range from those that are barely detectable but still have a huge impact on peoples lives, to the far more serious kind that leave adults in an incredibly vulnerable state.
Obviously it is the latter that need the most support “ and the protection of vulnerable adults is something that Irwin Mitchells Disability Rights team specialises in “ but we want to see a better understanding of brain injuries across the board.
The Headway event takes place at Newcastle United Football Club, St Jamess Park on September 15th.