Four pharmaceutical firms have joined hands in the UK to improve neurology services for patients in the country by addressing current shortfalls in care.

The Pharmaceutical Industry Neurology Group (PING) will initially be comprised of AbbVie, Biogen Idec, Genzyme and Novartis, but other companies with an interest are also able to join.

Each company involved in the group will plug equal resource into the project, the priorities of which include improving neurology referral processes and tackling fragmentation of services.

The move comes in response to recent reports by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and National Audit Office, which were critical of services for patients with long-term neurological conditions in the country.

“Coordination of care for individuals is poor, and there is a lack of integration between health and social services. There is still a lack of neurological expertise, both in hospitals and in the community, and access to services varies widely," last year's PAC report concluded.

PING is hoping to work in close partnership with the NHS, particularly the newly formed Strategic Clinical Networks which will take an overarching look at issues affecting neurological care, a spokesperson told PharmaTimes UK News.

The group will primarily have a national focus, but may also consider local issues when these arise, the spokesperson said, noting that "one of the most significant issues facing neurology has historically been variation of care so the hope is that the nation-wide approach of the group will help to address this".