Neurological conditions

Neurological conditions include a wide range of conditions, disorders and syndromes affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles.

Well known conditions include migraine, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.

Neurological conditions are caused by a range of diverse pathologies. These may be:

  • congenital (e.g. cerebral palsy)
  • hereditary/genetic (e.g. Huntington’s disease)
  • neoplastic (e.g. brain tumours)
  • degenerative (e.g. motor neurone disease),
  • infective (e.g. meningitis)

Neurological conditions range from the common (headache/migraine, functional neurological disorders) to the very rare (e.g. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other prion disorders). The cause of many common conditions remains uncertain (e.g. functional neurological syndromes, migraine).

We are funding and working with NHSScotland to ensure everyone living with a neurological condition is able to access the best possible care and support, and benefit from healthcare services that are safe, effective and put people at the centre of their care. That is why we have developed Scotland's first national action plan on neurological conditions. 

National action plan

We consulted on a draft national action plan on neurological conditions in 2018-2019. This plan was developed in partnership with the National Advisory Committee for Neurological Conditions (NACNC) and the wider neurological community such as people with lived experience, third sector organisations and health and social care professionals. It sets out a vision for driving improvement in the care, treatment and support available to people living with neurological conditions – and their carers - in Scotland. The final plan is due to be published in late 2019.

Our aims are to: 

  • ensure people with neurological conditions and their carers are partners in their care and support
  • improve the provision of co-ordinated health and social care and support for people with neurological conditions
  • ensure high standards of effective, person-centred, and safe care and support
  • improve equitable and timely access to health and social care and support across Scotland
  • build a sustainable neurological workforce for the future

We will do this by working with national, regional and local services to:

  • support people to manage their condition as appropriate to their needs
  • develop integrated and co-ordinated models of care and support with the neurological community 
  • support health and social care partnerships to embed mainstream models of care that ensure personalised support in every case, and options over the level of control the individual and their family chose to take, in accordance with the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013
  • test and introduce innovative ways of delivering health and social care and support
  • improve our understanding of the neurological population in Scotland
  • improve ways of measuring quality of care and outcomes via better data collection and use of outcome measures
  • use technology to enhance care
  • support participation of all members of the neurological community in research and quality improvement

We have:  

  • consulted the neurological community on the commitments in this plan
  • appointed a national implementation lead who will work to develop a national network of local implementation leads in Integration Authorities and NHS Boards to help deliver the plan across Scotland 
  • aligned the role of the National Advisory Committee for Neurological Conditions, to support the implementation of the national action plan

 We will: 

  • develop an implementation plan to support delivery of the commitments over a 5-year period 
  • consider new models of care and support being tested or proposed by Integration Authorities, NHS Boards and third sector organisations.

National Advisory Committee for Neurological Conditions

We established the National Advisory Committee for Neurological Conditions in 2016 to advise the Scottish Government on policy development and to drive improvements in the care, treatment and support available for people living with neurological conditions.

More information

Information about the Scottish Collaborative Access Neurology Specialty Group is on the scottish access collaborative website.

Information about general standards for neurological care and support is available on the Healthcare Improvement Scotland website.