Sinn Féin call for more North-South cooperation for neurological services - Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD
Speaking during a Dáil debate on a motion for additional investment in neurological services and the implementation of the neurological strategy, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Disabilities, Caoimhghín Ó Caolain T.D. took the opportunity to encourage the adoption of more all-Ireland approaches in the provision of neurological services which are currently at crisis point in this State.
Deputy Ó Caolain said;
“Over 25,000 Irish people each year struggle to get the neurorehabilitation services they need to prevent disability and support recovery from conditions including stroke, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
"Neurological services are chronically underfunded. Sinn Féin have, over many years, been calling for additional investment in neurological services and have provided for this in each of our alternative budgets.
"The development of community-based neurorehabilitation teams to provide moderate and high-intensity neurorehabilitation in community settings is absolutely essential.
“We know that early intervention ultimately reduces the care needed and many studies also clearly demonstrate significant cost-savings post-rehabilitation.
"However, we are currently failing to intervene early enough. The National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) is currently the only service provider.
"It is underfunded and does not have the capacity to deal with the increase in population size and the increase in the number of patients who need neurorehabilitation services at their facility.
“Despite our support for this motion I would like to put on record our disappointment that there was no mention of all-Ireland cooperation.
"As my party’s health spokeson over many years, and through my involvement in the Oireachtas Committee on Health, I pushed hard for the provision of an all-island Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Service and for collaboration between neurology services in the South and neurosurgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
"DBS is a neurosurgical treatment for movement disorders in those with Parkinson’s disease or Dystonia.
"I would encourage the Neurological Alliance of Ireland and other organisations to strongly consider and push for more North-South co-operation in other neurological areas as there are so many untapped opportunities and potential in all-Ireland approaches.”