Tuesday June 13 2017 05:44 PM
Campaign by 17 National Charities calls on new Taoiseach to address “unfinished business” in health by tackling silent crisis in neurorehabilitation
The “We Need Our Heads Examined” campaign is calling on the new Taoiseach to tackle the “silent crisis” in neuro-rehabilitation services as part of what he has referred to as “unfinished business” from his tenure in the Department of Health.
Over 25,000 Irish people each year struggle to get the services they need to recover from and live with the effects of conditions such as stroke, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons disease. The new National Rehabilitation Hospital, funding for which was secured by Mr Varadkar and announced in 2015, will still only have half the number of beds required for the Irish population. The new hospital will only have twelve additional beds compared to what is there at the moment. As Minister for Health, Mr Varadkar also led out on the development of a national trauma network for serious injury. The National Rehabilitation Hospital have acknowledged that implementation of a national trauma service will lead to an 80% increase in demands on the hospital. Short, medium and long term rehabilitation services to support trauma centres just aren’t in place.
Mags Rogers Executive Director of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland which is leading the “We Need Our Heads Examined” campaign said today “Neuro-rehabilitation services are at the core of the Taoiseach’s unfinished business in health, people on trolleys, overcrowded A & E’s and delayed discharges. Lack of neuro-rehabilitation and long term care are the hub of the problem”.
A national neuro-rehabilitation strategy was published in 2011 but none of it has been implemented. Minister for Health Simon Harris had committed to publishing an implementation plan for the strategy by June 2017 but the Neurological Alliance understands this deadline will not be met. The NAI are calling on the Taoiseach to intervene directly to ensure the implementation plan is available by Budget time in October, with a clear announcement of investment in 2018.
Ms Rogers referred to a “silent crisis” in neuro-rehabilitation. “These are families who often don’t even know what they have missed out on. They struggle to cope with serious and often unnecessary disabilities, struggling to scramble together a package of care that is completely inadequate and loosing a vital window of recovery. They are told the services, which are taken for granted throughout Europe, just aren’t available in Ireland”.
The “We Need Our Heads Examined” campaign is supported by seventeen national neurological charities and is calling for action on neuro-rehabilitation services. The following organisations are signed up to the campaign An Saol; Alzheimer Society of Ireland; Acquired Brain Injury Ireland; Ataxia Ireland; Brain Tumour Ireland; Chronic Pain Ireland; Enable Ireland; Headway; Huntingtons Disease Association of Ireland; Irish Heart Muscular Dystrophy Ireland; Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland; Neurological Alliance of Ireland; Parkinsons Association of Ireland; PSPA Ireland; Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland; Spinal Injuries Ireland and The Rehab Group