AN MP has spoken out in parliament calling for better services for those affected by brain injuries.

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman read a speech in Parliament on Tuesday, July 2.

In her speech, she told the story of Nicola Hughes, chair of brain injury trust Headway Darlington, and her work to support those affected by the condition.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Ms Chapman said: "I knew nothing at all about acquired brain injury until I met someone in my constituency called Nicola Hughes, who told me that she also had known nothing about acquired brain injury until her husband acquired his.

"I do not know the circumstances; I have never asked her, and she has never talked to me about exactly how it happened. What she has made very clear to me is the impact it has had on her, their daughter and their family, and how inadequate she believes the support is for families of people with an acquired brain injury.

"Nicola says that the hardest part of the whole journey for her and her family was when her husband came home. Their isolation, and the lack of support that was there for her, for him and for their daughter is something that we cannot allow to continue; it must be addressed urgently.

"Initially she was expecting him to get better and was waiting for recovery. I know that happens for some people, and it is a wonderful thing and should be happening more, but for some people, that is not the likely outcome.

"She has had to learn to love and be with a new person, effectively. It is a journey that I do not think any of us can appreciate unless we have found ourselves in that situation.

"One of the things Nicola has told me about that concerns me a lot is the lack of consistency in support for families when people leave hospital.

"She said there is a clear discharge programme in Oxford, where all staff are briefed and letters go to the family’s GP so that the carer’s GP knows that their patient has now acquired this new caring responsibility and may need additional intervention and support.

"She said that the support is virtually non-existent in some other areas, and I fear that my area of Durham Tees Valley is not up there with the best in that regard.

"Services should be provided according to the need of the person affected and their family, not according to where they live. I know we say that about lots of conditions, but I have never seen it as stark as I have seen it with brain injury."

Headway Darlington thanked Ms Chapman, adding: "If a life is worth saving we must invest in ensuring it is worth living also "