Specialist Health Services Campaign

There aren’t enough beds for the number of spinal cord injured people who need them. That needs to change.

That’s why we’re lobbying the government to improve and expand specialist health services. We know how vital NHS spinal cord injury centres are to SCI people. They provide excellent, knowledgeable care and excellent early rehabilitation.

In the longer term, it means that spinal cord injured people are less likely to need lifelong healthcare.

But while there aren’t enough beds to go around, around a quarter of spinal cord injured patients are not admitted to a centre. That means problems in the short, medium and longer term. Bladder issues, bowel and skin management problems and pressure ulcers are just some of the likely complications.

For those who do get a place, there are often unacceptable delays to admission (in 2015/16 the average wait was over seven weeks). These delays result in significant distress to patients, and increases complications further down the line.


Around a quarter of spinal cord injured patients are unable to access a spinal cord injury centre for essential treatment

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

Our own experiences show that delayed discharge from specialist centres is due to the failure of local health, housing and social care services. And finally, the lack of funding, coupled with absence of SCI specialist staff and sufficient outreach services prevents people from accessing services locally.

What we’re doing

We’re campaigning hard for better provision of specialist healthcare services, and we’re working with the government and other agencies 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