People suffering from brain injuries are losing access to vital support and rehabilitation services because of government cuts impacting on local authority funding and welfare support, according to a report by the brain injury association, Headway.

The report, released to coincide with Headway’s Action for Brain Injury Week, reveals a ‘ticking time bomb’ caused by reduced access of brain injury survivors to support. Headway says that the end result will be vulnerable people, unable to cope without support, becoming more reliant on the NHS.

According to the report:

  • 48% of people have lost access to rehabilitation and support services as a result of welfare benefits reform and cuts to local authority budgets;
  • 70% of people believe their long-term support needs will increase as a result of less support;
  • 70% of people are worried about their financial situation as a result of welfare benefits reform.

In addition, 89% of Headway groups stated that they were having to dip into charity reserves to maintain vital support services for brain injury victims.

Spokesperson for Headway, Luke Griggs, said: “We are deeply concerned with the findings of this report. People who desperately need help to cope with life injury after brain injury are being abandoned.

“They are being cut out of society due to a lack of access to vital support services. Not only is this morally wrong but it also demonstrates a short-sighted approach.”

Imogen Wetton, a serious injury solicitor in Thompsons' Manchester office, commented: “Action for Brain Injury Week raises awareness of brain injuries and their potential effects and it’s clear from this survey that the future is clouded by short sighted government cuts.

“We see in our work with serious injury victims, the devastating impact that a brain injury can have on someone’s life and that of their loved ones. The support levels may be high but they enable brain injured people to maintain a life that has meaning for them and recognises the pressure on their families. Reduce that access to support and rehabilitation services and the consequences are hugely worrying.

“The NHS will bear the brunt of the impact of government budget cuts when those with brain injury, amongst society’s most vulnerable people, have nowhere else to turn. From lives as independent as possible I fear a life of institutionalisation. Those suffering from brain injuries need the right level of support to help them maximise their chances of recovery and regain their independence and this is under threat.”

As part of Action for Brain Injury Week, the Thompsons team will be participating in ‘Hats for Headway Day’ on Friday 16 May to help raise awareness of the plight of individuals, and families, affected by brain injuries.