With two days before Chris Bryant MP’s Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Private Members’ Bill is read in the House of Commons, our Clinical Director, Dr Rudi Coetzer has shared why he supports the ABI Bill:

Over the past decade investment in acute care for people with brain injury has greatly improved the path from injury to A&E and onwards to neurosurgery, with many experiencing world-class care. However, sadly, too many people are discharged from their acute care with inadequate post-acute rehabilitation, often suffering lack of further care through geographical gaps in provision.

“We know that quick access to good multi-disciplinary rehabilitation plays a key part in the long-term prognosis of most of those who suffer life-changing brain injuries, supporting people to reach and if possible, exceed their goals. From my experience in the NHS and now in the third sector, I see that currently provision is piecemeal on two levels – 1. there is not enough neurorehab beds through the NHS, Independent or third sector, and 2. that rehab is often time limited.

“As a clinician, I was really encouraged to see the Prime Minister’s commitment to an ABI strategy which pulls together the different government departments and takes a holistic, integrated approach to supporting people living with this condition. To date we have had no cohesive strategy which recognises the often life-long need for rehabilitation access which centres on people’s needs and goals, and not only on specific medical condition.

“I have seen people make a good physical recovery during their time-limited neurorehabilitation, but our current system often leaves people being discharged with residual or latent longer term psychosocial and cognitive impairments that impacts on their functioning and successful engagements with society.

“People who have suffered a brain injury very often experience rehab needs that ebb and flow, are often sparked by a crisis, and if not met, can lead to a social spiral of suffering relationship breakdown, loss of employment, isolation, and increased care needs. Although it is often attributed to the end of a treatment pathway, post-acute neurorehabilitation intervention can also have significant impact as a preventative measure. As a prevention approach it can reduce health inequalities, the cost of healthcare and give an increased return on investment in rehabilitation, preventing the negative social spiral, and instead increase wellbeing.

“I back the ABI Bill as it presents us with an opportunity to equip people with a brain injury with the support they need, to fulfil their maximum potential, and optimise their contribution to family life, their communities and society as a whole.”

To find out more about the ABI Bill, visit: www.abibill.org.uk