Memorandum by Mr Neil Cawthorn (H 47)
I write in connection with the inquiry of the
Health Committee into Head Injury: Rehabilitation.
For some years I have been actively involved
with rehabilitation for the head injured, having received instructions
in 1989 to act for a Client who sustained catastrophic head injuries
in a road traffic accident resulting in a complete change of personality.
There was nowhere for him to go within the NHS, and having carried
out exhaustive enquiries within the United Kingdom both within
the public and private sector, a project was set up in Suffolk
with Health and Social Services involvement which eventually led
to the setting up of a Head Injury Housing Scheme, creating a
service and facility for both those with claims, and those without
claims, but all sharing the same need. The partnering of private
and public funds and professional expertise was novel and was
referred to as an example of best practice in that year's annual
NHS Review. I am proud to say that I chair the Joint Advisory
Committee to the Head Injury Service, which has developed outreach
services for the head injured, helping again those with claims
and those without claims, serving their needs in the home and
the community. Care in the Community as it was intended.
Since this time a similar and complementary
scheme has come into operation at Icanho, The Suffolk Brain Injury
Rehabilitation Centre, which coincidentally is also based in Stowmarket.
Again this scheme has been created by partnership funding, providing
retraining for inter alia, getting people back to work, thereby
saving the public (and private, where a claim arises) purse.
These schemes have not in my view been given
undue publicity, because of the pre-eminent concern for the client
group which they service. It remains true that they are centres
of excellence and in order to facilitate a greater awareness of
these services, and to assist with the considerable unmet need
which remains for the rehabilitation of the head injured, a project
has been set up to create a "wheel and spoke" operation
to facilitate the best use of current facilities, to ensure best
practice, and fill gaps of unmet need. This project is being set
up within Suffolk, but with a view if successful, to being translated,
county by county, to provide a national service, under the overall
control of Rehab UK, a national charity specialising in rehabilitation
for head injured adults. It is intended to operate on a not for
profit basis, accessing all the relevant agencies and services,
both in the public and private sector and commercial and not for
profit organisations. The project is at an early stage, but already
interest has been expressed via the NHS and Social Services within
and beyond Suffolk.