Over thirty TDs and Senators attended a briefing on the Patients Deserve Better Campaign organised by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland on Wednesday 15th June.
Oireachtas members heard that there is a shortage of 100 nurse specialists across adult neurology services. The Patients Deserve Better campaign is calling for investment over 5 years to tackle this shortage, starting with funding for up to 20 nurses in the upcoming Budget.
Oireachtas members heard directly from specialist nurses Sinead Jordan and Martina McKenna who highlighted the critical importance of specialist nurses in patient care, as well as the challenges posed by the shortage of 100 nurses leading to a “postcode lottery” and lack of access to a specialist nurse. For example only 21% of people with Parkinson’s disease in Ireland have any access to a nurse specialist.
Aoife Kelly, a young Galway student living with epilepsy, spoke of the challenges involved in living day to day with epilepsy and the importance of having access to the information and reassurance provided by a nurse specialist.
Tony Wilkinson, a Parkinson’s patient from West Cork, highlighted his experience of accessing a specialist nurse in the UK, a service that was not available when he moved to Ireland.
Professor Orla Hardiman, National Clinical Lead for Neurology, highlighted the ask for specialist nurses as a sensible and cost effective approach which has already been shown to be effective in improving patient outcomes, reducing waiting lists and A & E attendances.
NAI will be following up with individual elected representatives to call for further support for the campaign and ask for up to 20 nurses in the upcoming Budget.
The Patients Deserve Better campaign is supported by 15 NAI member organisations. For further information visit www.patientsdeservebetter.ie