Direct Access to MRI and Neurology Referrals for the Management of Patients With Chronic Headache.


Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust




Chronic Headache


Other: Neurology Appointment
Other: MRI scan

Study type


Funder types



MRI headache v2.0

Details and patient eligibility


This study aims to evaluate whether direct access from General Practitioners (GPs) to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for patients with chronic headache decreases overall NHS costs and increases patient satisfaction compared to clinical practice with referral to Neurology Services.

Full description

Headache is the most common symptom reported in the community, affecting more than 90% of the population at some point in their lifetime. Despite the low level of referrals to secondary care (as most patients tend to be managed within primary care), the absolute number of headache episodes (due to its high prevalence) makes headache the most frequently listed reason for referral to the Neurologist and thus, utilises precious capacity that is severely constrained. In order to support future management of this chronic condition, this study aims to evaluate existing clinical pathways in the management of patients with chronic headache - either referral to the Neurology Department or direct access to Imaging. Participants will be followed-up for a period of 12 months after the initial Secondary Care episode (either an MRI scan or Neurology appointment). Costs from the NHS perspective and self-perceived patient quality of life will be assessed and cost per patient and cost-effectiveness analyses will be performed.


296 estimated patients




16+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

Every patient aged 16 years or over with: i) chronic headache as a primary cause that has lasted ≥ 15 days per month for more than 3 months; and ii) referred from GP practices to GSTT, either directly referred to an MRI exam or a Neurology outpatient appointment.

Exclusion criteria

  • Children under the age of 16;
  • Patients with red flags as defined in NICE guideline CG150;
  • Patients without chronic primary headache, i.e. a headache that has not persisted for ≥ 15 days per month for more than 3 months
  • Patients with headache referred through the two week wait list;
  • Patients who lack capacity to give consent or participate in the study;
  • Patients not fluent in English;
  • Prisoners;
  • Patients that are already taking part in a clinical trial of an investigational medicinal products (CTIMPs).

Trial design

296 participants in 2 patient groups

MRI scan
Direct referral from Primary Care (GPs) to an MRI scan as the initial Secondary Care point of contact.
Other: MRI scan
Neurology Appointment
Referral from Primary Care (GPs) to Neurology Services in Secondary Care as the initial Secondary Care point of contact.
Other: Neurology Appointment

Trial contacts and locations



Central trial contact

Yvonne Akande, Master

Data sourced from

Clinical trials

Find clinical trialsTrials by location
© Copyright 2024 Veeva Systems