Gillian Keegan – 2021 Statement on Acquired Brain Injury

The statement made by Gillian Keegan, the Minister for Care and Mental Health, in the House of Commons on 2 December 2021.

The Government are committed to supporting all people living with an acquired brain injury (ABI) and those living with other neurological conditions and seek to prevent acquired brain injuries wherever possible.

The Government recognise the strength of support for a more collaborative and cross-departmental approach to ensuring that people with ABI receive the support that they need from statutory services. I would like to express my gratitude to both my right hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Sir John Hayes) and the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) for continuing to champion this important cause and recognise their significant contributions to improving services for people living with an ABI. As the Prime Minister announced on 24 November 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care will be leading work to develop a cross-Government strategy on ABI. I am pleased to confirm today some further details regarding the strategy.

The content of the strategy will be informed by a call for evidence which will be launched early in 2022, inviting stakeholders nationwide, including healthcare professionals, people living with an acquired brain injury, their families and carers, to put forward their views about what should be prioritised within the strategy. These priorities could include guidance on action to prevent acquired brain injury, including through concussion in sport; on research into the societal, congenital, medical and environmental causes of ABI; on the provision of relevant services for the purpose of diagnosing ABI, including in prisons, schools and the armed forces; on the identification of adults and children with ABI; on the assessment of their needs; and on the planning of relevant services. We will also ask for feedback on whether there are other related neurological conditions which should be considered for inclusion.

Development of the strategy will be overseen by a dedicated programme board, which, in my capacity as Minister for Care and Mental Health, I will co-chair with the hon. Member for Rhondda. Senior officials in all relevant Government Departments will be invited to join the board to ensure that the strategy addresses the wide range of issues that affect the day to day lives of those living with an ABI. This will include representatives from the Welsh Government and other devolved Administrations, as appropriate.

Following publication, the strategy will be kept under review and may be revised periodically to ensure that it continues to reflect the priority areas and actions needed to best support people living with ABI and their families.