Government announces ABI strategy plan

The government has formally announced plans to develop a cross-departmental strategy on acquired brain injury.

The announcement was made by Gillian Keegan, Minister of State for Care and Mental Health, in a written statement on 2 December 2021. It came just a day before the scheduled second reading of Chris Bryant MP’s Private Members’ Bill on acquired brain injury.

Work on the strategy will commence in the new year with a Call for Evidence, with stakeholders, people living with brain injury, their families and carers, and healthcare professionals invited to share their views about what should be prioritised in the strategy.  Calvert Reconnections will be participating in this process.

The development of the strategy will be overseen by a Programme Board, co-chaired by Gillian Keegan and Chris Bryant.

Commenting on developments, Claire Appleton, Head of Service at Calvert Reconnections said:

“This is a significant step forward for ABI provision, following years of campaigning from charities and survivors for more support.

“As a specialist neuro-rehabilitation centre, we look forward to playing an active role in the development of the government’s ABI strategy.

“The focus on outdoor activities as part of our therapeutic model makes Calvert Reconnections completely unique in the UK.

“Our evidence will detail how this new, innovative approach to brain injury rehabilitation is delivering tangible results and real pathways back into everyday life.”

Said Heather Batey, Trustee at the Lake District Calvert Trust and Managing Director of reach said:

“Having fully supported the aims of the Private Members’ Bill on ABI, we are delighted that the government has announced plans to develop a cross-departmental strategy on brain injury.

“We have required a national plan to meet the ongoing debilitating effects of people living with brain injury for many years.  Now, thanks to work of MPs, ABI charities and other supporters of the Private Members’ Bill, we have the opportunity to put a clear strategy in place.”

Bill Braithwaite QC, Trustee at the Lake District Calvert Trust and Head of Exchange Chambers, is a former board member of UKABIF, one of the most prominent supporters of the Private Members’ Bill.

While welcoming the lobbying leading to the government’s announcement, Bill struck a cautious tone.

“While plans to develop a cross-departmental strategy on ABI are welcome, let’s wait and see how this plays out,” he said.

“For decades it has been up to private providers to actually do the job, invest the money, take all the risks and a provide a service that the government has signally failed to provide.  Based on past experience, the jury is out on whether the government can deliver a strategy that meets with needs of children and adults with ABI.”