Long-term, progressive conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis affect more than 200,000 people in the UK, a figure which is expected to rise.

Campaigners are now calling on the NHS to increase the standards of care and services these patients receive in a bid to prevent a looming crisis.

The Neurological Alliance, a campaigning organisation has accused the NHS of having its “head in the sand” following a report by the National Audit Office.

The report contributed factors such as delays in diagnosis, poor follow-up care and lack of information to the reduced services many patients with neurological conditions receive. The study said that such factors mean patients are all too often treated in emergency departments by staff who are not specialists.

The Neurological Alliance want to see a neurological tsar appointed, expert networks of specialists at local level, and personalised care plans for all patients with neurological conditions.

Gwen Kirby-Dent, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Clinical Negligence Unit said: “We have an ageing population in the UK and that means the number of people suffering from neurological conditions and needing treatment will increase. Steps need to be taken to ensure the NHS can cope with the demand. Action taken now will mean sufferers can avoid the humiliation of poor diagnosis, care and treatment.”