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Crowe - lack of rehabiliation services in Tallaght Hospital for stroke victims of all ages is putting families under pressure

3 September, 2006

Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe has called on Minister for Health Mary Harney to provide resources for Tallaght Hospital to ensure that rehabilitation services for stroke victims is rolled out for patients of all ages. Deputy Crowe was speaking after a local family contacted him to tell him of the difficulties they are facing due to the fact that stroke rehabilitation services are not available at the hospital to patients under 65 years old. The nearest service is in Baggot Street.

Deputy Crowe said:

"Last month I was contacted by a family in Tallaght who were experiencing untold difficulties because rehabilitation services were not available to them for a loved one who had suffered a stroke. Such services are only available in this new modern hospital for people over the age of 65 years. This family is reliant on friends and neighbours for assistance - something which is causing unnecessary stress.

"For many stroke patients around the Tallaght area travelling to Baggot Street is simply not an option as they are unable to drive and there is no agreed funding in the community for transport. This means that they have to rely on lifts primarily from their partners which inevitably leads to loss of earnings and adds to the stress of an already traumatic situation.

"The reality is that all of this added stress for many stroke victims is totally unnecessary. If adequate resources were made available then these services could be rolled out for stroke victims of all ages at Tallaght Hospital. If Minister Harney wasn't so fixated on giving away public money to the private health sector then these services may well have been in place already.

"Treatment for stroke patients is long, slow and laborious. The last thing a patient in recovery needs is added stress. But this is the reality for patients and their families as they try to organise transport to and from Baggot Street. Evidence suggest that Irish hospital services are insufficiently supported for dealing with stroke victims. Yet stroke kills more people in Ireland than lung cancer, bowel cancer and breast cancer combined and approximately 10,000 people experience a stroke each year according to the ESRI, with over 30,000 people estimated to be survivors of stroke.

"Tallaght Hospital is a modern hospital facility. It was envisaged that it would be a flagship hospital. It should be resourced to cope with the services demanded of it.

"I am publicly calling on Minister for Health Mary Harney to investigate the roll out of services to stroke victims at Tallaght Hospital."ENDS

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