The neurology service at Lincolnshire hospitals has been temporarily suspended due to staffing issues with doctors who travel from Sheffield and Nottingham.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals’ Trust said the service at all of its hospitals including Boston Pilgrim, Lincoln County and Grantham Hospital has been suspended until April next year.
This will result in a significant reduction in the capacity of the service which has led to the trust making the ‘difficult decision to temporarily close the service to new referrals from December 1, 2016, temporarily until April 1, 2017.
Neil Ellis, deputy director of operations at ULHT, explained the issue to the media.
“The neurology service within Lincolnshire’s hospitals is provided by a combination of ULHT and visiting consultants from Nottingham and Sheffield. Unfortunately, we have been notified that the visiting consultant service from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust will end on December 31, despite our efforts to extend the relationship or notice period”.
Ellis went on to outline the consequences of this issue.
“During this period, however, the service will still accept two week wait referrals and urgent referrals linked to convulsive seizures. We are committed to ensuring we recommence a service providing appointments for acute neurological care as soon as possible”.
Despite their huge impact, historically very little information has been collated and published about neurological conditions and how people affected by them are cared for and supported by the NHS and social care services.
However, a recent report from the Neurological Alliance provided an insight into the extent of such conditions and their impact on the NHS.
According to the report, the number of neurological cases in England has now reached approximately 12.5 million; this equates to 59,000 cases per clinical commissioning group
1.3 million hospital admissions were recorded for people with a neurological diagnosis in 2012/13 – representing an increase of more than 500,000 over a five-year period, while the NHS spent over £4.4 billion on neurological conditions in 2012/13 alone.
NHS expenditure on neurological conditions increased by over 200% between 2003/4 and 2012/13.