Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Mr Keith Jenkins (H 44)

  1.  I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman of Headway SE London and NW Kent. Headway SELNWK is a local branch of Headway, the brain injuries association, and is the provider of a day centre for adults with acquired brain injury based at Goldie Leigh Hospital, London, SE2.

  1.1.  I have asked members of the Management Committee for their comments for the Select Committee and these are detailed below. The Management Committee for Headway SELNWK comprises head injured people, relatives of head injured people and professionals working with head injured people (currently a Solicitor, Occupational Therapist and Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist). As well as providing a day service to which brain injured adults can self refer or be referred by Social Services or other care agencies, we have monthly meetings for carers and a monthly open meeting with an alternating educational or social focus. We are currently involved in providing computer classes (including internet access), craft classes, adult literacy classes and general support to up to 60 clients a week. Our main source of funding is from Social Services, primarily the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley, with a continued element from our own fundraising efforts. Headway SELNWK brings together individuals with enormous experience of brain injury and the services available to meet the associated needs. This memorandum should be supplemented by the personal submissions of our members sent to you under separate cover. In addition to this, we would be happy at any time to extend an invitation to the Select Committee or its representatives to visit our day service or to hear representations from our members at the House of Commons.

  2.  We feel that services fail to appreciate the permanent nature of brain injury related problems and the need in many cases for lifetime follow-up or support. Physiotherapy services and Social Work were singled out in our discussion as examples of service provision that are all too often time limited or dismissive of working with individuals more than 18 months post injury.

  2.1  The great value of brain injury case managers was highlighted. These individuals, often with a background in Occupational Therapy or Social Work, are made available to individuals that have funds as a result of compensation claims. They use their experience and knowledge to co-ordinate and manage packages of care by recruiting support workers and/or using established services and resources. Why is it that only brain injured individuals with compensation claims and associated funds benefit from this resource?

  2.2  The provision of supported living for brain injured individuals is very patchy and almost non-existent in the London area. One consequence of this is that Londoners with a brain injury and a need for staffed support, for example, a group home or similar, can find themselves having to live on the South coast, or in the Midlands, miles away from their families and familiar territory.

  2.3  Headway's provision of understanding and support at any time post injury is of enormous value. However, our local services are dependent upon the prevailing climate as regards local Social Service and Health provision via Partnership Groups or similar that may have the wider remit of physical disability as a whole. The recognition of brain injury as a separate disability is urgently required in order to ensure appropriate services and understanding for the needs of this special group.

February 2001

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