Wirral MP highlights findings in The Brain Charity’s report on diagnosis of neurological conditions 

Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood has attended an event in parliament to mark the launch of a new report by The Brain Charity.

The ‘It’s all in your head’ report surveyed more than 800 people with neurological conditions to learn about their diagnosis experiences, from their first concerns to life after a diagnosis.

It was found that 48% of those surveyed left their first GP appointment not feeling well-informed about the next steps towards diagnosis or treatment, while 37% waited two years or more for a diagnosis of a neurological condition.

Furthermore, 49% said that a lack of support and information led to high feelings of fear for the future, and 35% had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety after being diagnosed with a neurological condition.

The Brain Charity has argued that the system as it stands is characterised by poor support for patients, long waits for diagnosis, and a preventable mental health crisis. It is now calling for an independent review into diagnosis of neurological conditions – a call which Margaret Greenwood MP is supporting.

There are more than 600 different recognised neurological conditions, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), dementia, stroke and chronic fatigue syndrome, plus many other rare conditions.

The charity, which is based in Liverpool, offers support to people affected by neurological disorders, including help with applying for benefits, legal advice, free social activities and a variety of classes including ukulele-playing, art and gardening.

Margaret Greenwood MP said, “I was pleased to be able to attend the launch of this important report.

“Some of the findings are extremely concerning, with one of the key themes being that people with a neurological condition often feel that there is a lack of information and support available to them.

“There are also often problems with delayed diagnosis and a long-term impact on mental health.

“I fully support the charity’s call for an independent review into the diagnosis of neurological conditions.

“One in six people in the UK are living with a neurological condition and it is vital that they get the help that they need.

“The Brain Charity provides support for anyone based in the UK with a neurological condition, and their family, friends and carers too.

“I would urge anyone who thinks that they may benefit from support to either call in to their centre in Norton Street, Liverpool, phone them on 0151 298 2999 or visit www.thebraincharity.org.uk

John Picton, a West Kirby resident and Trustee of The Brain Charity who also attended the launch, said, “It was so great to see my local MP, Margaret Greenwood, at the launch.

“The Brain Charity is a wonderful organisation on Norton Street. It is a community hub and a place for support and advice. It is such a friendly place; the atmosphere is wonderful.

“People at the charity know first-hand how difficult the diagnosis journey can be. Although staff and volunteers don’t like to blow their own trumpet, they really do change lives through the delivery of support services.

“With this report we will bring about change in another, less direct, way. We are calling for an independent review of the diagnosis journey. We urgently need better, quicker, diagnosis and better post-diagnosis support.”

Pippa Sargent, Chief Executive of The Brain Charity, said, “The findings of the ‘It’s all in your head’ report are stark, painting a picture of fear, isolation and helplessness.

“For too many people, delays and a lack of information and support exacerbates what is already a harrowing journey.

“The Brain Charity is calling for an independent review into the length of time it takes for people with neurological conditions to receive a diagnosis.

“It is imperative we improve the experiences of those who are seeking a diagnosis and provide reassurance and understanding at what is undoubtedly a distressing time.”

Image: Margaret Greenwood MP (centre) with The Brain Charity Chief Executive Pippa Sargent and Trustee John Picton

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