Posted on: 27 February 2024

Since 2021, Camden Adult Services has played a key role in implementing the Community Neuroscience Project with our partners across North Central London (NCL).

The case for a new model of care

In the UK, it is estimated that one in six people are living with a neurological condition, and neurological disorders are a leading cause of disability worldwide.

Currently, access to these services can involve complex referral processes and long waiting times. Many aspects of care are also taking place in a hospital setting, when they could be delivered closer to home.

Lack of timely access to support and repeated encounters with inappropriate services puts patients at risk of complications, and it can lead to avoidable emergency attendances.

So in 2021, the Community Neuroscience Project was set up, aiming to drive better, more joined up neuroscience health and care across NCL, by improving access to the right teams earlier in the patient journey.

What is a neurological condition?

A neurological condition is any condition that affects the brain, spinal cord or nervous system. Many are well-known such as:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Delirium
  • Dementia
  • Epilepsy
  • Headaches
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Brain cancers or injuries

An integrated approach to neuroscience care

The project has brought together community services, primary and secondary care (doctors, nurses and therapists), to build a more cohesive neurological network.

Within CNWL, our teams from Camden Integrated Community Healthcare (CICH) and St Pancras Neurological Rehabilitation Unit, have been working closely with partners to deliver neuroscience care more efficiently, by engaging in collaborative care. 

This includes GPs, and NHS partners from University College Hospitals, Royal Free, Whittington Health and North Middlesex.

The new approach is helping to enhance the delivery of care, reduce emergency admissions and unnecessary referrals, without the need for more resources.

The project has led to:

  • A specialist clinical team was established to provide expertise across the sector. They participate in consultations in the community and in patients’ homes.
  • Weekly virtual meetings take place with clinicians from different disciplines, rather than written referrals. Coordinated care plans are developed, and colleagues have access to senior neuroscience support, reducing time consuming emails and paperwork.
  • A neurology pathway for headache, dizziness and transient loss of consciousness was implemented. In the first year, it saw a 25 percent reduction in neurology referrals to secondary care.
  • The UCLH Neurology Same Day Emergency Care service works closely with the project, putting neurologists at the frontline. Admissions are avoided and only five percent of referrals required outpatient services.
  • Neuro-Navigators have been recruited, supporting people to access appropriate services, and provide care closer to home.
  • A neurological seminar series is currently being delivered by the NCL Training Hub. 

You can read more about the project in this research paper