This week’s regular Health Questions in Parliament focussed heavily on acquired brain injury, with three MPs raising the needs of brain injury survivors and the work of Headway.
Bim Afolami MP is one of 11 MPs who represent Hertfordshire, and has recently met with representatives from Headway Hertfordshire. He was speaking after discussions with the local group about funding issues.
Mr Afolami asked the Health Minister: “The NHS does have a good strategy relating to community based care. In relation to acquired brain injury, would the minister advise me and Headway Hertfordshire, a brilliant local organisation on how we can get more proactively involved with this strategy, attract more funding from local CCGs and in particular would she meet with me and the organisation to discuss this further?”
In response, Caroline Dinenage MP, the Minister of State for Care, replied: “I’m delighted he has mentioned Headway, they are a fantastic organisation who do great work. I’ve met them regularly in my own constituency and would be more than happy to meet them with him as well. Now the partnership board of local integrated care systems which will plan and shape these services will be including the voice of voluntary services and the voluntary sector in their area. So his local Headway branch would be well advised to engage with that group.”
A follow up question from Sheema Malhotra MP, who represents Feltham and Heston in south London, also concerned support for rehabilitation after brain injury.
Later during the session, Harlow MP Robert Halfon took up the case of family helped by the Headway Emergency Fund, saying: “Last year, the brain injury charity Headway said that it had paid a family £374 for hospital car parking charges. These charges are unacceptable. They are a stealth tax on patients, a stealth tax on the vulnerable and a stealth tax on staff. Will my hon. Friend scrap them once and for all?”
For the Government, Stephen Hammond MP, the Minister of State for Health, replied: “I commend my right hon. Friend for being a tireless campaigner on this matter. We have always made clear that staff, patients and their families should not have to deal with the stress of complex and unfair charges, and we introduced tougher guidelines in 2014, but I must stress that this is a local matter.”
Dr Clare Mills, Headway’s Public Affairs Manager, said: “It is good to see that politicians are developing their knowledge and understanding about acquired brain injury and the work of Headway to support survivors, families and carers.
“We will continue to develop relationships with MPs from all sides of the House, as well as members of the House of Lords and our other democratic institutions.”