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Published On: December 19, 2017 | Blog | 0 comments

The 2017 Headway Awards Lunch

On Friday 8 December, I was once again privileged to be asked to represent my firm, alongside colleagues from the Court of Protection and Injury and Medical Claims teams, at the Headway Awards Lunch.  Our invited guests were drawn from charity, private and public sectors.   All of us had a clear understanding of  the effects of brain injury, having, in various ways during our careers, supported individuals and their families following such an unexpected and life changing injury.   Many  present had also had their own lives touched by one of the biggest causes of disability in the UK.

The glittering event organised by Headway – the brain injury association – takes place annually on a cold December lunchtime at the famous Dorchester Hotel in London, surrounded by seasonal decorations and lights.    The event is an opportunity to raise the profile of the charity- now in its  incredible 37th year –   and the vital work it does to both educate and inform; advise on prevention and assist those affected by brain injury and crucially their families.  From accident victims, to those affected by medical errors, to those with generative conditions or birth defects and those who have suffered illness resulting in injury to the brain such as stroke and encephalitis – all are supported by Headway.  The event commends those who give selflessly to others, through awards under a variety of categories. I was delighted that my firm once again sponsored the Volunteer of the Year category, which was won by Sandy Johnston, for devoting so much of his time to Headway over the past 20 years.

The cause of all the charities and organisations associated with head injuries could not be more important.  Brain injury is often described as “the hidden disability” as it may leave little in the way of obvious physical impairments – but affect memory, concentration, mood and cognition.  According to Headway, between 2013-2014,  A& E departments admitted nearly 350,000 people with acquired brain injuries in the UK.  That is 956 admissions per day – a  concerning increase of 10% since 2005/6.  It is believed that there are over a million people living in the UK with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). ABI is where an event leads to an injury to the brain after birth and during a person’s lifetime. 1 in 64 of the population are believed to be living with the effects of a brain injury.    As one would expect, the personal cost is huge.   According to UKABIF (the  United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum) this also costs our economy some £4 billion.

It is therefore not surprising that the issue has reached the national agenda and Parliament.  On 28 November  2017 the launch meeting of the very first All Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury  took place in Westminster, hosted by Chris Bryant M.P  The group are committed to making recommendations to improve the treatment and care of those affected with ABI and, to that end, four roundtable discussions will take place to discuss and report on causes of ABI; trauma and the provision of neuro-rehabilitation; ABI in conjunction with crime; education about ABI (its causes, prevention and awareness ) and, finally, concussion in sport.    Recent high profile sporting injuries and tragic deaths of sportsmen have put concussion caused through sport high on the agenda in schools and through to national and international levels – with several sports establishing new guidelines for the management and treatment of individuals who are suspected to be concussed.  Well known personalities from entertainment play such an important role in raising awareness.  Recently His Royal Highness Prince Harry, also lent his support to the launch of Headway’s brain injury identity card.    This year, especially, Headway and its supporters remember fondly the invaluable support of his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in her capacity as royal patron of Headway.

All in all, head and brain injuries in all its forms and degrees of severity have never been higher on the national consciousness and government agenda.    Let us hope that this leads to much greater support and understanding for brain injury survivors and their families.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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