The National ABI Education and Learning Syndicate (N-ABLES) has been set up to identify ways to ensure that all education professionals have a minimum level of awareness and understanding about ABI; and the educational requirements of children and young people with this condition.

It was established by brain injury charity UKABIF on the back of recommendations made in the All-Party Parliamentary Group for acquired brain injury’s recently-published Time for Change report. The report pointed to a widespread lack of awareness of ABI and its impact on learning among education professionals.

It also highlighted problems in identifying the specific educational support needs of brain injured individuals and a lack of liaison between health and education professionals.

Since its launch, the new body has already held two meetings with representatives of the Department for Education.

The N-ABLES steering group includes Dr Emily Bennett, clinical psychologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Petrina Goldman, CEO the Eden Dora Trust for Children with Encephalitis.

Also on board are Nathan Hughes, professorial research fellow at Sheffield University, Lisa Turan, CEO of the Child Brain Injury Trust, and Chloe Hayward, executive director of UKABIF.

Other developments in the aftermath of the APPG report include ongoing talks between the Ministry of Justice and the Criminal Justice Acquired Brain Injury Interest Group (CJABIG), also managed by UKABIF.

CJABIG aims to encourage all the agencies working with young people affected by brain injury in the criminal justice system to work together to ensure offenders with ABI are fairly treated.

Another concern raised in the APPG report was the inconsistent delivery of the Rehabilitation Prescription, which is supposed to be available to all individuals with an ABI on discharge from acute care. It should also be held by individuals, with copies also made available to GPs. Research suggests these actions are not always carried out.

In response, the Clinical Reference Group (CRG) for Major Trauma has now reviewed the format and use of the existing RP and announced a new version, RP2019, which requires actions for the GP and documents services that the individual has been referred to.

UKABIF will be promoting the new RP2019, with versions for both adults and children, in March during Brain Awareness Week (11-17 March).

UKABIF chair Andrew Bateman says: “UKABIF is working hard to facilitate change for individuals with ABI. This hidden epidemic impacts on so many government departments so it’s important to raise awareness of the needs of our members, and ensure the recommendations in the Time for Change report are delivered”.