Acquired Brain Injury – we need a plan!
The Government agreed to implement an Acquired Brain Injury Strategy following a campaign by Chris Bryant MP. He secured a Private Members’ Bill and ahead of its second reading in the Commons in December 2021, the Government gave the green light for a cross departmental strategy.
Acquired Brain Injury is a leading cause of death and disability affecting more than 1.3 million people and costing £15 billion to the UK economy each year. Acquired brain injury is an issue for the Department for Health and Social Care; Work and Pensions, Education; and Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; and the Ministries of Justice, Defence, Housing, Communities and Local Government. The need for a national pan departmental strategy is vital and long overdue.
As the Government agreed to the Strategy, Chris Bryant, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Acquired Brain Injury, said: “The Government has announced it will be creating a Panel Board in to start devising a whole-Government strategy on ABI. In other words, the Government is doing precisely what my Acquired Brain Injury Private Members’ Bill is calling for.
“A huge thank you to all the acquired brain injury charities, MPs and other campaigners who have been supporting my Bill and the campaign.”
UKABIF, along with a number of other brain injury organisations and charities, have supported Chris Bryant over the past months to add weight, and the voices of those with acquired brain injury, to the campaign.
Chloe Hayward, Executive Director of UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF), said: “We are acutely aware of how much this Strategy is needed and what a difference it will make to better supporting people with an acquired brain injury.
“It has been a real collective effort from charities including The Child Brain Injury Trust, The Children’s Trust, The Disabilities Trust and Headway, supporters, service users and MPs and it is wonderful to see that collaboration pay off. There is much work to do ABI strategy is implemented and we will all continue to play a key role in ensuring people with acquired brain injury have access to the support they need.”
Now the strategy has been agreed, work has started on the implementation process. Chris Bryant has met with Gillian Keegan, Minister of State for Care at the Department of Health and Social Care to draw up a time line and discuss terms of reference and calls for evidence.
While the Strategy is still in its early phase, it is expected that the new Strategy Programme Board will meet around Easter with key civil servants from across Government departments invited to ensure the Strategy covers all the issues raised by the charities and organisations during the campaign.
As the Strategy is formalising, ongoing engagement with representatives and services users of the brain injury charities and organisations will be used to feed through to the Programme Board. Updates on the Strategy will be posted here regularly.