Hull Neurologist warns of childhood traumas causing later health issues

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Published: Tuesday 7th April 2015 by KCFM

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Dr Grunewald, from the NHS Hull CCG, says more people are being affected.

A Neurologist from the NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning group, says the health service is struggling to cope with people suffering from the consequences of being abused as children.

Dr Richard Grunewald says increasing numbers of people are suffering physical symptoms that are actually caused by psychological trauma.

He says the NHS hasn’t got a joined up way of identifying and tackling the problem:

“Throughout the NHS, there is very limited understanding of it. There’s no particular service that specialises in this either. The patients will present to the GPs, or often present to specialist services, and all these specialties tend to see their bit of the elephant without seeing the whole.”

Dr Grunewald says doctors aren’t getting enough training to identify and help abuse victims:

“There is no teaching available for medical students on this complex issue. Medically unexplained symptoms receives very scant attention, sometimes it’s not mentioned at all. There’s often very little attention given to the underlying issues of deprivation and trauma and abuse that has happened to these people.”

He says it’s leading to misdiagnoses, and that’s putting added pressure on emergency care:

“I suspect that a significant proportion of the increase in demand is caused by people who have medically unexplained symptoms related to emotional issues. I think people are going to see doctors for physical symptoms, the doctors aren’t able to explain them, and they end up in A and E.”

Dr Grunewald says the NHS needs to make changes to identify and support abuse victims:

“We need to change the way medical students are taught about it, the way that GPs are taught about it. We need to change the way that psychotherapy services manage it; And then we need services for people who need continuing care or perhaps have less of the manifestations.”

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Published: Tuesday 7th April 2015 by KCFM

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