Migraine treatment times ‘almost double’ in England amid calls for condition to be taken seriously | UK News
The time people are waiting to be treated for migraines has almost doubled in England, according to a new report.
And the Migraine Trust has called for the “debilitating and stigmatised” condition to be taken seriously by clinicians.
The charity said there should be greater awareness of the pathways that exist for managing migraines, which can cause severe pain as well as nausea, confusion and blurred vision.
One in seven adults – or 10 million people – in the UK are thought to be affected by migraines.
And more than one million have chronic migraine – which means they experience headaches for at least 15 days of the month.
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Robert Music, chief executive of the Migraine Trust, said: “Not only are patients struggling, but poor management of migraine is putting unnecessary additional strain on an already struggling NHS.
“We are seeing rising A&E admissions for migraine across the UK.
“There is a shortage of GPs, consultants and nurses specialising in headache to meet the need that we know exists, and a broad lack of understanding of the condition, meaning patients are not being treated in the right place or at the right time, if at all.”
Data obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the Migraine Trust revealed waiting times for patients requiring specialist care for migraines in England have increased from 15 weeks in 2021 to an average of 29 weeks in 2023.
It also claims access to new drugs is being “hindered” by wait times, along with a lack of specialist doctors and nurses.
Dr Brendan Davies, chairman of the British Association for the Study of Headache and a consultant neurologist at Royal Stoke University Hospital, said: “The time has come for a nationally-agreed educational framework and quality standard for primary care, as we have with other important long-term conditions.”
Levelling up minister Dehenna Davison resigned from the role earlier this month due to her ongoing battle with chronic migraine.
The Conservative MP said: “Migraine affects so many people in the UK and yet awareness of what it really is remains painfully limited.
“No, it is not just a headache – it is a complex condition that can greatly impact individuals and their families every single day.
“We need to improve awareness about the symptoms and challenges of migraine to help improve access to quality treatments and improve the workplace experience.”