Specialist Health Services Campaign

Issue

Access to specialist NHS Spinal Cord Injury Centres (SCICs) is critical for spinal cord injured people, as the experience leads to more individuals participating fully in society.  They also require less lifelong healthcare provision than patients who do not have access to SCICs.

Sadly, there are just not enough beds for the number of spinal cord injured people who need them and around a quarter of spinal cord injured patients are not admitted to an SCIC.  This means reduced patient outcomes ie poor bladder, bowel and skin management, leading to conditions such as pressure ulcers and potentially life threatening autonomic dysreflexia

For those who do get a place in an SCIC, there are unacceptable delays to admission (eg in 2015/16 the average wait was over seven weeks). These delays result in significant distress to patients, affecting their outcomes and increasing health needs.

Lack of capacity in the system for spinal cord injured vented patients results in significant distress and affects speech, feeding and breathing independently.   It also causes the NHS (and taxpayers) great expense, because of bed blocking in intensive care units.

Delayed discharge from SCICs are occurring due to the failure of local health, housing and social care services.

Finally, the lack of funding, SCI specialist staff and sufficient outreach services denies people access to services closer to their homes

Campaign

We are campaigning hard for improved specialist health services provision, seeking to influence Government and other stakeholders to:

  • Ensure access to specialist health services for all spinal cord injured people
  • Increase capacity in the system, coupled with improved access for spinal cord injured vented patients
  • End unacceptable delays to admission to specialist SCI services
  • Improve local health services, so spinal care injured patients have access to ongoing treatment and support closer to their homes