Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


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.

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