Cheshire and Merseyside is proud to be home to The Walton Centre, the only NHS hospital in the UK dedicated to neuroscience care.
It offers a world class service which includes many pioneering techniques, cutting edge treatments and clinicians who are international leaders in their field.
Our Partnership is building on this reputation to ensure neurological care in Cheshire and Merseyside continues to be world class. Our work has a number of priority areas.
Better Neurological Care
We are implementing a new plan for how neurological care is delivered. At the moment, services are highly variable, with some hospitals having minimal or no on-site neurology service.
So, rather than spreading resource thinly across a number of hospitals, a central team of neurological experts based in Liverpool will be on hand to visit hospitals or provide support remotely over video-link or a 24/7 hotline.
Patients are then treated, whenever possible, by a local team of specialist doctors and nurses who can provide much of the care they need close to where they live or in their own home.
Many admissions and inter-hospital transfers can be avoided as a result. But if patients do need to go to hospital, the services they receive in Liverpool will be world class.
Better Spinal and Back Pain Care
We are developing relationships with acute hospitals to establish a full surgical spinal network. This means patients will get the same standard of care regardless of where they receive treatment.
Work has been underway for the last two years to improve support for GPs in how they treat patients with back pain. This will reduce the need for referral to hospital and unnecessary interventions.
Better care for headache
The number of patients with a severe headache or migraine going to hospital has been growing by five thousand a year. This has been putting an unnecessary and unsustainable pressure on these services.
The Headache Pathway developed by clinicians in Merseyside supports GPs in making referral choices and gives them clear guidance on the ‘Red Flags’ to look out for. Often patients with persistent or recurring headaches can worry that the headache is a sign that they have something sinister. Many patients are unaware that brain tumours don’t usually cause headache but the GP needs support to reassure them and to provide a clear management plan. Being able to share that specialist knowledge can also mean patients aren’t routinely sent for unnecessary investigations which can cause the patient more worry.
The data coming through as a result of the projects clearly shows the benefit of working in this way:
There has been a 20% reduction in headache referrals to The Walton Centre between October 2016 and September 2017.
Nearly 3,000 patients received advice and guidance on our telephone Nurse Advice Line between July 2016 and June 2017, supporting them in empowerment and self-care management and potentially avoiding a primary/secondary care appointment.
Between January 2017 and December 2017, the Integrated Neurology Nurse Specialists (INNS) team has supported more than 1,500 patients with neurological conditions closer to home in community or home visits – a 50% increase from 2016-17.
The work of the Neuro Network continues to inform the wider health economy as a cross-cutting theme within the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership. There is great potential for enhancing and standardising the care of patients with neurological conditions. This is done by taking a whole system approach to see how the work of the Network can not only influence neurological care but care of all patients within the system.
The lead for this programme is Hayley Citrine, Chief Executive, The Walton Centre.