We are delighted to announce that the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has accepted a list of recommendations made by Aspire and Back Up that will improve the lives of people with spinal cord injury.

The list of recommendations came after the charities worked together to research people with spinal cord injury's experiences and views of NHS services in the York area. The charities produced a report highlighting what was working well and what could improve.

“We believe passionately in doing the best for local people, by working with them as much as possible. We make decisions based on clinical evidence, local needs and best practice and by developing positive relationships based on trust and confidence. This is why we welcomed the opportunity to see where our services could be improved. We are keen to continue working with Aspire and Back Up and start implementing the recommendations from the report in partnership with them straightaway,” said Andrew Bucklee, spokesperson from the NHS Vale of York CCG. 

Local health services are vital in enabling someone to function safely and effectively in their daily life. Serious medical complications can arise, at any point in a spinal cord injured person’s life, which are devastating for the individual and costly for the NHS; SCI is in the top ten conditions for spend in many areas. If well managed, however, people with SCI can lead happy, healthy, active and fulfilling lives. Preventative monitoring and on-going rehabilitation is vital.

Based on what people with spinal cord injury told the charities and the feedback of service providers, the report identified key recommendations for the CCG to tackle in collaboration with both charities. The recommendations are to:

• Make sure people are referred to spinal centres in a timely manner;
• Ensure that all people with spinal cord injury are referred to spinal centres for regular outpatient reviews;
• Improve nursing care in the community;
• Improve collaboration between the spinal cord injury centre and wheelchair service to reduce delays and duplication and ensure needs are met;
• More support for people to get back to work;
• Improve access to physiotherapy in the community.

This joint initiative is still in an early stage but plans are already in place that will see improvements for spinal cord injured people in the area.

Many of the issues that people face in the Vale of York are not too different from the problems people face in different areas of the country.

“It’s often all too easy to fall into the trap of just being critical, instead of offering up viable solutions to the problems. The work that Aspire and Back Up are undertaking with NHS Vale of York CCG is actually about creating improvements that will make a difference both to those who use clinical services, and to the staff that provide them.” said Alex Rankin, Director of Services at Aspire.

The full report and recommendations can be downloaded here.

Please contact Alex Rankin with any queries or comments.