ABI campaigner Chris Bryant was knighted in King Charles III’s first New Year’s Honours list. Sir Chris, who is the MP for Rhondda, has been at the forefront of efforts to introduce a strategy that will help simplify and widen access to increased support for brain injury survivors.

In 2017, he became chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury and has been instrumental in leading numerous debates in parliament to increase awareness and raise the profile of brain injury. He has worked with brain injury organisations and charities to bring this to national attention.

In 2021, Sir Chris introduced the Private Member’s Bill, which called for the government to prepare, publish and implement a cross-departmental strategy to address the needs of those who live with brain injury and their families. Such was his determination to force the issue, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to the development of the strategy without a parliamentary vote.

Sir Chris said he was amazed to receive the honour and said “many others who work in brain injury deserve this far more than I do, but it will definitely spur me on to get a national brain injury strategy in place this year.”

When will the strategy be published?

In 2022, a Call for Evidence was launched that involved different people involved in brain injury care, management and rehabilitation to formulate the content of the strategy. This included healthcare professionals, ABI survivors, brain injury charities and organisations and many other professionals who were consulted. The consultation ran between 14th March to 6th June 2022 and the strategy is to be published no later than 1st April 2023.

There has yet to be an indication of the priorities of the strategy so far and once it has been published, it will be kept under review and can be revised to reflect additional areas.

How will this help with ABI?

The strategy has the potential to change the way acquired brain injury is diagnosed and treated across the UK. It may even help towards preventing it, such as how a head injury is treated in sports and what can be done to limit or eliminate the risk. Further preventative action could include incorporating new or additional safety measures for work that is considered high-risk, such as building and construction. 

A better understanding of the symptoms and signs of ABI could lead to a better diagnosis, particularly for those whose injuries are not immediately obvious and could lead to a misdiagnosis. In addition, improved treatment and rehabilitation of brain injury could make a difference if those affected by brain injury have early and effective access to neuro-rehab services.

An explanation of the strategy will be provided to members once the details have been published.