They do this by pooling regional neuromuscular expertise by bringing together NHS commissioners, people with muscle-wasting conditions and their families, expert neuromuscular clinicians, and allied health professionals to ensure that specialist and community neuromuscular services are strengthened in their local areas.
Network members perform a range of tasks:
- identify gaps in neuromuscular services and community care
- raise awareness of neuromuscular disorders
- promote the delivery of an equitable, high-quality service to all people with a muscle-wasting condition in the region
- work together to upskill health professionals supporting people with a muscle-wasting condition
Currently, MDUK coordinates, partakes and works closely with ten regional and national neuromuscular clinical networks across the UK:
- East Midlands Network
- East of England Forum
- London and South East Coast Network
- North West Paediatric and Adult Neuromuscular Network
- Scottish Muscle Network
- South West Neuromuscular Operational Delivery Network
- Thames Valley and Wessex Forum
- Wales Neuromuscular Network
- West Midlands Network
- Yorkshire, Humber and the North East Network
Collaboration between neuromuscular network and the NHS going forward
There are currently only three NHS funded and managed neuromuscular networks across the UK. Since 2013, MDUK has set up and supported informal forums and networks in other areas but each one is at a different stage of development. With funding for specialised services being delegated to Integrated Care Systems (ICSs), NHS England has confirmed they will be looking at clinical networks to help understand patient need in local areas and to identify ways to improve provision of resources going forward. We envision neuromuscular forums an clinical networks will have a large role to play to provide input into local service delivery.
MDUK's Shine a Light Campaign
As part of our 'Shine a Light' campaign, MDUK are asking the NHS to invest further in Managed Clinical Neuromuscular Networks to address this inconsistency and ensure they each have sufficient provision. For example, only the Southwest, North West and Scotland networks receive NHS funding, but even then, they are funded in different ways. This investment will help promote integrated working, ensure patients have access to properly resourced healthcare and address unwarranted variation in neuromuscular services across the UK. This will also ensure these networks are set up properly to fully support ICSs going forward.
If you'd like to know more about neuromuscular forums and clinical networks, please email firstname.lastname@example.org