Memorandum by the Association of Serious
Injury Solicitors (H36)
1. The Association of Serious Injury Solicitors
is a regional group of Personal Injury Solicitors. The writer
of this memorandum has a special interest in acquired brain injury
(ABI). This memorandum has been prepared following research into
resources available in the East Anglian Region. For this purpose
we considered the resources available in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire,
Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.
There are two Headway Units in Bedfordshire.
There is a neuro-rehabilitation team dedicated to dealing with
individuals with acquired brain injury in the county. North Wing
Hospital has a community rehabilitation team. The team offers
no long term support. There is one social worker within the physical
disability team in Bedford who is dedicated to working with individuals
with ABI. He was not available at the time that we made our enquiries.
Where private funding is not available there is no long term support.
There is a Headway Unit in Cambridge. The surrounds
of Cambridge, however, are poorly served.
There is no Headway Unit in Peterborough. It
was disbanded in 1999. There is a neuro-rehabilitation team in
Peterborough consisting of clinical psychologist, occupational,
physio, speech and language therapists. The team does not provide
any social supports. They are only concerned with intermediate
rehabilitation and offer no long term support. The only form of
social support identified for Peterborough was one social worker
but it was not clear how one contacted her.
There are also the post-acute rehabilitation
providers at Oliver Zangwill Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre at Ely,
St Andrew's Centre and the Lewin Rehabilitation Unit at Addenbrooke's
Hospital. Where private funding is not available there is no long
Essex has three Headway houses, Colchester,
Romford and Southend. There is a neuro-rehabilitation team based
in Colchester General Hospital. The team provides support for
all neurological disorders but again long term support is not
available. Rehabilitation is no longer available at the Princess
Alexandra Hospital in Romford and Chelmsford's Broomfield Hospital
offers minimal rehabilitation. There are the private organisations
of Elm Park, Tree Tops and a home in Dovercourt. Where private
funding is not available long term support was limited. Headway
in Essex (Colchester) provides a community support service but
this is limited to information and advice.
We were unable to contact anyone in Hertfordshire.
The named contact on the Headway web site was no longer available.
There are three Headway Houses in Norfolk. The
co-ordinator of Headway in Great Yarmouth confirmed that there
was little available in his area, Norfolk and Suffolk. Once medically
stabilised the patient was sent home to families or lived in the
community with carers' support. There is a head injury social
work team based in James Paget Hospital and we understand that
Social Services in this area are very helpful with funding. It
was found that there was a lack of occupational, physio and speech
therapy programmes and appropriate housing. We found that one
Headway member in his 40s lives in an old person's home as there
are no alternatives available.
There is no day centre at Headway Norwich. Headway
Norwich meets once a month for two hours in the evenings.
Colman Hospital Rehabilitation Unit and Oak
Farm Physical Rehabilitation Unit provide inpatient rehabilitation
for those with ABI. There is no long term support. There is a
neurological rehabilitation team based at St James' Clinic in
King's Lynn providing brain injury rehabilitation. There is no
long term support.
There are two Headway Houses in Suffolk and
it was found that the resources available here were a little more
outreaching. There is no neuro-rehabilitation team in Suffolk
but it was found that Icanhoethe Suffolk Brain Injury Rehabilitation
Centre, provides a comprehensive range of services including social
work, vocational rehabilitation and care and support. A Case Manager
based in Suffolk stated that there is an issue of long term needs
for those referred to Icanhoe. The mid-Suffolk area is further
supported by a voluntary organisation called Rethink Disability.
They have a dedicated support housing unit as well as an outreach
service providing specialist support workers to work with those
with ABI in their own homes. It was found, however, that the therapies
required by a person suffering from ABI were sadly inadequate.
(3i) The six counties referred to above
are identified by National Headway as the Eastern Region. It was
noted that there was a serious problem finding appropriate support
for sufferers from ABI who cannot be maintained in their homes.
There were problem finding accommodation. It was found that there
were only three Headway Residential Units which were run by Housing
Associations. The standards in these three units varied. One Case
Manager reported that a 57 year old man suffering from ABI had
no alternative but to be admitted into an old person's residential
unit. A 32 year old girl, who was heavily dependent, was placed
in a home where the average age of the residents was 65. She had
no occupational therapy and had one session of physiotherapy a
week. Incidents of sexual abuse were reported. One Case Manager
reported that a girl suffering from PVS (persistent vegetative
state) became pregnant whilst in a Young Disabled Unit.
(3ii) It was found that there was no uniformity
of standards in the care of patients with ABI. There was a problem
in terms of quality assurance. There was no way of protecting
(3iii) There were no quality standards.
(3iv) The service available was found to
be patchy and inconsistent. There are a significant number of
agencies providing post-acute medical rehabilitation. With few
exceptions, social rehabilitation and long term support failed
to be addressed. The supply of information and advice was frequently
left to the voluntary organisations.
(3v) Save where compensation claims arose
and private funding was available long term support was scarce.
(3vi) It is recommended that there should
be a statutory need to review individuals with ABI in residential
homes. Reviews are not regular and only occur on complaint.
(3vii) It is recommended that the need for
an independent person to stand in the shoes of a guardian ad litem
should be addressed urgently.