Action for Brain Injury week 2018 provides a great opportunity to highlight the impact brain injury has not only on individuals and their families but on society as a whole.

Brain injuries are often seen as invisible disabilities because they are not necessarily obvious from the outside and the symptoms can be so easily misinterpreted or misunderstood. It is this aspect of brain injury that has been specifically targeted by the Child Brain Injury Trust who this week launched their Brain Injury Information Card Service intended to help those with brain injuries alert others to their difficulties more easily on a day to day basis and thereby promote better understanding.

As a specialist in brain injury claims one of the most rewarding aspect of my work is the benefit that compensation can bring in terms of improving the quality of life and offering security and stability to for brain injury survivors and their families.

Unfortunately through involvement with charities and other brain injury organisations I am also all too aware of the divide that exists in the brain injury field between those with the ability to secure private funding (typically through litigation) and those without. As a result, despite the best efforts and dedication of those who work and volunteer with brain injury survivors, the benefits of effective rehabilitation along with long term access to therapies, aids, equipment and support which we at Freeths are able to secure for our client's through a successful clinical negligence claim are often inaccessible to others who suffer similar injuries in different circumstances.

Unfortunately hit comes to securing funding and to recognising the needs of brain injury survivors, the difficulties of a having an invisible disability are exacerbated further by a lack of awareness as to how pervasive and widespread such injuries in our society. With that in mind, Chris Bryant MP on behalf of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Acquired Brain Injury called recently for a parliamentary debate to raise awareness of this hidden epidemic.

Statistics repeatedly demonstrate a high prevalence of brain injury among young offenders in custody, the homeless, and those accessing mental health services. A point highlighted by ABIL (Acquired Brain Injury London Forum) in response to the Mayor of London's health inequalities strategy 2017, a strategy document which like many other public health consultations had inexplicably made no reference to brain injury.

According to statistics cited by the APPG on Acquired Brain Injury in January 2018, brain injuries cost the UK around £15bn every year or 0.75% of GDP. Long term investment in brain injury research, treatment and rehabilitation has the potential to dramatically improve individual lives whilst also to significantly reducing homelessness, youth offending rates and the burden on mental health services.

Given the common and wide spread nature of these injuries and the financial cost to society it is shocking that access to brain injury services have been often overlooked and the interests of brain injury survivors and their families under-represented when it comes to competing for NHS funding and other key resources.

Thankfully through successful campaigns led by charities such as Headway and the Child Brain Injury Trust, with new research continuing to emerge as to of the long term effects of apparently minor brain injuries and concussions, and with the successful relaunch of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Acquired Brain Injury in November 2017 after a long hiatus, there are signs that the issue is gaining much needed recognition.

It is therefore more important than ever this Action for Brain Injury week to build on the gathering momentum and help shine a light on this hidden epidemic for the benefit of us all. One easy way in which you can play a part is by joining in with Hats for Headway Day which place takes tomorrow (Friday 18 May 2018). For further details see https://www.headway.org.uk/about-headway/events-and-conferences/hats-for-headway-day/

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have suffered a brain injury as a result of substandard medical treatment or care please contact, please contact Catherine Bell (catherine.bell@freeths.co.uk) for a free and confidential discussion of your legal options.