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06 Oct 2022

Neurological Alliance of Ireland calls for urgent funding for neurology services in Budget 2023

Neurological Alliance of Ireland calls for urgent funding for neurology services in Budget 2023

Neurological Alliance of Ireland calls for urgent funding for neurology services in Budget 2023

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), the national umbrella for over thirty neurological charities in Ireland, is calling on the government to include €3.3 million in funding for neurological care services in next week’s Budget.

They say this funding is essential to fully resource at least four of the seven required community neurorehabilitation teams, and to appoint 20 additional nurse specialists across adult neurology services. County Carlow currently has no community neurorehabilitation team.

NAI members highlighted this ask with members of the Oireachtas at a pre-Budget event held on Tuesday (September 20) at Buswells Hotel in Dublin. Members also raised concerns that neurology waiting lists now stand at over 24,000, a 20% increase over the last five years.

The NAI says that with an already under-resourced service, the growth in the number of people waiting more than 18 months to see a neurologist has doubled from 4,040 in July 2018 to 7,636 in May 2022.

Photographed at a pre-Budget event held this week at Buswells Hotel in Dublin was Richelle Flanagan, registered dietician; Orla Hardiman, National Clinical Lead for Neurology; Tony Wilkinson, patient representative; Charlie Smyth, Polio Survivors Ireland; Laura Reid, patient representative; Rosie Mangan, patient representative; Magdalen Rogers, NAI Executive Director; and Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking at the event, Magdalen Rogers, NAI Executive Director said:

“An investment of €3.3 million from Government in Budget 2023 could have a direct impact on the lives of over 800,00 people living with neurological conditions in Ireland.

“It’s shocking that Ireland continues to have among the most underdeveloped neurorehabilitation services throughout Europe with the lowest numbers of consultants in rehabilitation medicine and a significant scarcity of inpatient and community neurorehabilitation services.

“At a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health earlier this year, we raised the issue of a critical lack of progress in implementing the three-year framework for neurorehabilitation services 2019-2021. 

“Seven of the nine Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) around the country have no community neurorehabilitation teams, including the two CHOs where the major national trauma centres are located.

“These multidisciplinary teams provide vital care to support recovery and prevent disability for people with neurological conditions including acquired brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

“Nurse Specialists are vital to the care of people with neurological conditions in the community. They help to tackle hospital waiting lists and studies have demonstrated their vital role in reducing presentations to hospitals and reducing the burden on neurology services.

“We are calling on the Government to alleviate the pressure that has been placed on an already under-resourced area with a much-needed investment of funding. This will ensure that those living with neurological conditions, and their families, get the support they need.”

The Neurological Alliance is a coalition of neurological charities which advocates for developing and resourcing services across the spectrum of neurological diseases and neuro-disability.

For more information visit: https://www.nai.ie/

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