Ireland ‘failing’ people with neurological disease

By June Shannon Stroke News   |   22nd Jul 2019

On World Brain Day 2019, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland is calling for investment in neurology and neurorehabilitation services

Today, Monday 22 July 2019, is World Brain Day and to mark the event, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI); the national coalition for neurological care of which the Irish Heart Foundation is a member, has called for increased investment in neurology and neurorehabilitation services.

Launching its pre-budget submission, the NAI said that while Ireland was leading the way in researching and developing treatments for neurological conditions, we were “failing those in our society who are living with neurological disease.”

According to the NAI, more than 800,000 Irish people are living with neurological conditions including stroke, epilepsy, dementia, acquired brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis as well as rare and genetic conditions.

In its submission, the NAI has called for investment in condition specific services and other supports including, €7.7 million for stroke care. This includes €6.4m to “ensure that endovascular stroke centres providing thrombectomy are developed in conjunction with emergency services to provide access for all suitable stroke patients regardless of location,” the NAI stated.

More than 800,000 Irish people are living with neurological conditions including stroke, epilepsy, dementia, acquired brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis as well as rare and genetic conditions.

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Thrombectomy is a relatively new therapy for the treatment for acute ischemic stroke; this is where the stroke is caused by a blood clot in a major blood vessel in the brain. Unlike thrombolysis which uses drugs to try and dissolve a blood clot, thrombectomy is a radiologically guided interventional procedure where doctors use specialist equipment to mechanically remove the clot from the brain.

Last year the Irish Heart Foundation and stroke survivors from its national support network held a protest outside Beaumont Hospital in Dublin to highlight the need for crucial investment in the thrombectomy service there.

The NAI has also called for the 3-year incremental plan for new and replacement equipment from 2020-2022 inclusive to be expedited, making the remaining €6.4m available in the Capital Plan for 2020 and €1.3 million for the national roll out of early supported discharge programmes.

The NAI today also highlighted findings of recent research which revealed that Irish people with neurological conditions struggle when it comes to employment.

According to a recent national survey of people in Ireland living with neurological conditions, 78 per cent of respondents were forced to give up work as a result of their diagnosis, one fifth experienced “significant difficulties in the workplace” and 19 per cent reported that they had not disclosed their condition to their employer.

“ We waited over eight years for an implementation plan for the National Neurorehabilitation Strategy and it was finally published this year with no commitment to investment. That is just paying lip service,"

Ms Mags Rogers, Executive Director, Neurological Alliance of Ireland

Ms Mags Rogers, Executive Director of the Neurological Alliance said, “We waited over eight years for an implementation plan for the National Neurorehabilitation Strategy and it was finally published this year with no commitment to investment. That is just paying lip service. Meanwhile charities have seen successive cuts to their funding which is impacting on vital services for people with neurological conditions and their families”.

The NAI also called for €1.13 million for epilepsy services, €18.4 million for dementia support and €110 million for Home Care.

The NAI which represents more than 30 charities working with people with neurological conditions and their families also used World Brain Day to publish its report card for the current Government, which highlighted continued underinvestment in services, growing waiting lists and the failure to meet key commitments in the Programme for Government.

Today’s event was organised in collaboration with the European Federation of Neurological Associations [EFNA].

To learn more about stroke and thrombectomy please see here. 

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Early supported discharge NAI Neurological Conditions neurology rehabilitation stroke

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