The complex nature of the condition means that few doctors have the expertise to treat patients.
Dr Giunti responded to this gap in care by opening the UK’s first specialist centre for ataxia 11 years ago.
Based at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen Square, it takes a holistic approach to care, providing diagnosis and access to research, as well as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and emotional and practical support.
The patient base has expanded from 64 in 2005 to more than 800 a year today.
Naming its European Health Professional of the Year, the European Federation of Neurological Associations said: “Dr Giunti was nominated for her work in the field - including the establishment of the specialist ataxia centre, which we really see as a best practice example of a bespoke health service made in partnership with patients.
“However, the judging panel was also particularly impressed by her voluntary work with patient organisations and the wider patient community.
“This was a hugely competitive category and Dr Giunti was a very worthy winner.”
Dr Giunti said: “I feel hugely honoured to be given this award. It is testament to UCL/UCLH’s vision in creating Britain’s first specialist ataxia centre, in partnership with patients and Ataxia UK.
“It strengthens my determination to continue researching ataxia and developing the service, which has the best possible management of the patients at its heart.”