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Specialised headache units, a feasible alternative in Spain
INTRODUCTION. Visits due to headaches are the most frequent cause of demand for neurological treatment in primary care and neurology services. Headache units improve the quality of care, reduce waiting lists, facilitate access to new treatments of proven efficacy and optimise healthcare expenditure. However, these units have not been implemented on a widespread basis in Spain due to the relatively low importance attributed to the condition and also the assumption that such units have a high cost.
AIM. To define the structure and minimum requirements of a headache unit with the intention of contributing to their expansion in hospitals in Spain.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS. We conducted a consensus study among professionals after reviewing the literature on the structure, functions and resources required by a headache unit designed to serve an area with 350,000 inhabitants.
RESULTS. Eight publications were taken as a reference for identifying the minimum resources needed for a headache unit. The panel of experts was made up of 12 professionals from different specialties. The main resource required to be able to implement these units is the professional staff (both supervisory and technical), which can mean an additional cost for the first year of around 107,287.19 euros.