Cerebral Palsy results in complex disabilities for those affected. The common thread is that it affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. There is no cure and symptoms vary. Although the brain damage is non-progressive, it is clear that secondary changes that occur to the infant’s musculoskeletal and nervous systems are progressive, and can be influenced by early intervention.

Medical evidence suggests that neuroplasticity of the brain particularly in the early years affords an opportunity to rewire the brain or put more simply to allow the brain to adapt to environmental cues and improve outcomes. Why is it then that there is no national implemented pathway of care for infants and children with cerebral palsy with early intervention and treatment at its very core.

Yesterday, our specialist clinical negligence solicitor, Paula Barnes, was privileged to attend an APPG established by the charity Action Cerebral Palsy that sought to highlight this very issue. It was sobering to learn that the majority of NHS trusts in the UK still do not have a formal care pathway for children with cerebral palsy. Reference was made by all speakers to a lack of funds and a postcode lottery with many families simply unable to access appropriate care pathways and the essential transdisciplinary teams of specialists who provide essential assessments, monitoring, therapy and treatment resulting in poor developmental outcomes for these children who are the most vulnerable in our society.

The golden years of neuroplasticity of the brain up to the age of 2 years were simply ignored. This inequality of access and intervention is plainly wrong. Whilst there were stories of some centres of excellence the absence of a common standard and postcode lottery was clearly evidenced.

Amanda Richardson MBE CF, Founder and Chief Executive of Action Cerebral Palsy is inspirational and continues to play a key role in highlighting this important issue and continues to educate those working in this field on best practice early intervention for children with cerebral palsy. One can only hope that these continued efforts and the work of Action CP and others campaigning for change will result in policy reform at the highest level.

Paula Barnes is a solicitor and partner in our personal injury and medical negligence team, who specialises in clinical negligence work particularly child brain injury and cerebral palsy cases. If you would like to speak with Paula please email online.enquiries@la-law.com or call 0344 967 0791.