Monday, 24 March 2014

Clinical Reference Group

In the future, anyone in England who needs an environmental control system or a high-tech communication aid should be assessed by a specialised service and, if suitable, provided with what they need. This is a great development for people with severe physical disabilities.

One welcome outcome of the current changes to the NHS is that Electronic Assistive Technology (EAT) services in England will be properly commissioned on a national basis for the first time – by NHS England – as a specialised service(as part of Complex Disability Equipment services). Until now, provision has been patchy across England – very much a post-code lottery. 

Electronic Assistive Technology includes Environmental Control systems (ECS) - technology that allows people with severe physical disabilities to control equipment and access computer-based technology, including lights, telephones, TV etc,   around their home - and Communication Aids (AAC) – devices that help people communicate by helping them compose and speak out messages. 

Mark Hawley has been working for and with the NHS for 25 years, as part of the Barnsley service that provides EAT to disabled people, and for all of that time he has been fighting to get decent EAT services provided more widely across England. He is delighted to see this new development and to be part of the change - he’s been appointed to the NHS England CDE Clinical Reference Group, a group which has written the specification for these services and is steering through the changes to commissioning. 

The Barnsley AT Team, several of whose members are part of the RAT group, will be one of these specialised services, providing EAT services within Yorkshire. 

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