The Neuro Network (The Walton Centre, Liverpool)

The vanguard and the people it serves

The work being planned by The Neuro Network will enable patients across Cheshire and Merseyside to have rapid access, locally, to high quality neurology and spinal services from a regional specialist centre.

The Neuro Network is a partnership which sees The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust (the only specialist hospital trust in the UK dedicated to providing comprehensive neurology, rehabilitation, neurosurgery, spinal and pain management services) work with other NHS providers and commissioners to improve care for neurology and spinal patients and those with back pain, including:

  • Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS England Specialised Services Commissioning Team (North) are part of The Neuro Network with more partners anticipated to join as the programme is rolled out across the Cheshire and Merseyside area.

The vanguard covers a population of three million.

What is changing?

The programme will build on the vanguard partners’ extensive history of working together in networks to deliver neurology (help for problems within the nervous system) and spinal services.

The Walton Centre will work closely with other hospitals, GPs and community services to improve the quality of care and reduce variations in standards, ultimately benefiting patients with neurology and spinal conditions.

It already provides neurology services at district general hospitals across Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and North Wales, holding clinics and helping look after patients on the wards. The vanguard will use the national support available to develop joint working further across Cheshire and Merseyside.

The aim is to deliver improved results for patients and better use of resources within the local Merseyside and Cheshire area, as well as strengthening the acute support available in hospitals on a seven-day basis.

This way of working across a network is one that can be followed across the NHS as a whole to benefit patients nationally. It is recognised that there are too few consultant neurologists to provide a self-sufficient service in every district general hospital, and working together in this way allows local care to be available while still using resources efficiently and effectively.

The team is planning to establish a spinal network to further improve services for patients spinal conditions, increase the specialist support and advice currently given to GPs and local hospitals.

The Neuro Network will also standardise care for patients with back pain. At present, treatment can be inconsistent and patients often experience significant delays in getting the right care for their needs.

There is currently considerable variation in the surgery that is offered, and this will be addressed through different services working together as a regional spinal network for both urgent and planned spinal surgery, closing a gap in care and quality.

As well as the benefits the vanguard work will bring for patients, staff will benefit thanks to the opportunities it offers for engaging in innovative service development. This will include using modern technology within their working environment and the chance to undertake new roles such as the advanced neurology nurse posts that are being developed.

Key benefits

  • Earlier diagnosis and treatment will allow more effective management of long term neurological or spinal related conditions
  • Services working together as a network will ensure equal access to consistent, high quality care
  • Provision of care closer to home

Contact details for more information

Email: julie.riley@thewaltoncentre.nhs.uk