Neurological Charities Face Crisis

The NAI, the umbrella body for more than 30 neurological charities, has launched its action plan to coincide with National Brain Awareness Week.

It called on the incoming Government to prioritise neurological care and blamed decades of under-investment in the area for the limited access to services that are routinely available in other European countries.

Services in Ireland for people with neurological conditions such as stroke, migraine, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and acquired brain injury, lag far behind those in the rest of Europe.

The consultant neurologist at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, Prof Orla Hardiman, commented: "The current standard of care is unacceptable with delays in getting a diagnosis and lack of access to the level of specialised rehabilitation that other countries in Europe take for granted."

The NAI also pointed out that Ireland has 700,000 people with a neurological condition, but only half the recommended number of neurologists working in the public health system.

It called for the number of consultants to be increased to 42 to meet the needs of the population.

Almost 40% of people with a neurological condition wait six months or more for a diagnosis, with only one in four able to access the national rehabilitation centre. And there are just six rehabilitation consultants when the recommended number is 26.

The plan also calls on the Government to protect funding to charities that are central to neurological care services. Without the charities, there would be little specialist support available in this country for people with neurological conditions and their families.

A recent NAI survey found that almost 50% of people with neurological conditions said charities were essential to their care and support.

It is estimated that by 2021, more than 860,000 people in Ireland will have a neurological condition. See: thinkingahead.ie


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