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During question time in the Commons yesterday, Tuesday, Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff won an assurance that the Acquired Brain Injury Education Service based in Evesham but which provides rehabilitation services around the county, might again receive funding from the NHS.

Currently all the centre’s income is provided by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), but six years ago the Primary Care Trust also contributed. After pressure from Peter Luff and others, the LSC reversed its decision to stop funding the centre for this year at least and offered a substantial restoration of funding for adult education at South Worcestershire College, where the centre is based. The college has been able to top-up this reduced grant to enable the centre to continue to operate on a reduced basis during 2010. However, the future of the centre is still threatened by future cuts in the adult learning budget because there is no commitment to protect that budget in later years.

Peter asked the health minister, Gillian Merron,

“The Government may be aware of the threat to the acquired brain injury education service in Evesham, which helps the rehabilitation of stroke victims, in particular, and other brain injury victims. The threat has been caused by the changing priorities of the Learning and Skills Council in relation to adult education. Will the relevant Minister talk to the Further Education Minister to satisfy themselves that the unit is either truly just an education service or actually, as it used to be, co-funded by the Department for Health and the education Department?”

Gillian Merron replied,

“I am advised that Worcestershire primary care trust is looking at NHS-funded services for people with acquired brain injuries, and it is the PCT's responsibility to commission services to meet the needs of the population. The trust has had an increase over two years of some £83.8 million and given a public commitment to ensure that the services that the acquired brain injury unit provides will be considered as part of the review. I certainly take the point that educational opportunities are an important part of the rehabilitation process.”

Commenting, Peter said,

“The services provide by the centre are effectively roughly half educational and half health – so it is right it should be jointly funded. I am very encouraged this review is happening and I will be talking to the PCT’s chief executive, Paul Bates, for further details.”


Note to editors; The Learning and Skills council is abolished tomorrow, April 1st, and adult education and training will instead be provided through the new Skills Funding Agency.

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