A UK Government inquiry is considering whether to allow brain injury survivors to receive medical advice after a landmark decision to scrap mandatory brain injury treatment.
Key points:The government said there was “no clear evidence” that the proposed new rules would reduce the number of people needing hospital careThe inquiry will focus on the need for the system to be more transparent about who is receiving treatmentA Government spokeswoman said it was “working with the relevant stakeholders to determine the best way forward”.
“We have seen that there are currently no clear evidence that the new proposals will reduce the risk of people going to hospital for brain injury,” the spokeswoman said.
“We are working with the appropriate stakeholders to ensure that this new system is more transparent.”
Under the proposed rules, anyone who needs urgent medical attention in the first 24 hours will be covered by a specialist.
The inquiry is being set up in partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), which represents doctors and other medical staff.
It will look at whether the rules were successful in reducing hospital admissions for brain trauma.
The RCS said it welcomed the move and hoped to see changes made to the way the NHS is run to help reduce the need to treat brain trauma patients.
“While we have always been clear that we believe there is no evidence to support a policy of requiring people to seek medical treatment when they are in distress, we do appreciate that the Government’s proposal to amend the definition of brain injury to include only those who need emergency treatment is a significant step in that direction,” the RCS’s director of policy, John O’Connor, said in a statement.
“The RCP will continue to advocate for this change.”‘
No clear evidence’The proposed new system would require people who need urgent medical care to seek urgent medical treatment for their injuries.
The move will be opposed by doctors, who argue it will increase the risks of brain trauma and could even increase the number who go to hospital in the long term.
“It is an extraordinary step that will make people think twice about seeking help for their brain injury and it is an attack on people’s right to have access to care in the NHS,” Dr Ian Foggs, chief executive of the Royal Colleges of Surgeon, told the ABC.
“This is not a new concept and has been used by many jurisdictions in Australia to increase access to urgent medical help for people who are suffering from brain injury.”‘
We need to be accountable’The government’s decision to ditch the requirement for urgent medical support was backed by health ministers from across the political spectrum, who said it would give people more time to seek help for brain injuries.
“I hope we’ll see more of this in Australia,” Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, chief of the NHS’s trauma team, told reporters.
“People need to have some level of control over the circumstances that lead them to their brain injuries.”‘
I’m not sure if I’d be able to come back’Dr Fogges said he was “not sure if [he] would be able” to come to work in the new system if he needed emergency treatment for his injury.
“If you are in the emergency department and you need urgent care for your brain injury, it will be a very, very difficult situation to come in,” he said.
The Government has made it clear that the move will not change the existing system, which still requires patients to go to hospitals for treatment.
“There will be no change to the existing arrangements,” the spokesperson said.
“The Government will continue its work to ensure the current system works for people.”