Calls for increased investment amid national shortage of nurse specialists in neurology

There is a shortfall of 100 nurse specialists across neurology services.
Calls for increased investment amid national shortage of nurse specialists in neurology

Danielle Walsh Ronan

Amid a national shortage of nurse specialists in neurology, the Government has been called on to provide increased investment to curb shortfalls in services for people living with neurological conditions.

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), which compromises of 30 non-profit organisations advocating for the rights of people in Ireland living with a neurological condition, is calling on the Government to invest in nurse specialists in neurology.

According to the Model of Care for Neurology Services in Ireland, there is a shortfall of 100 nurse specialists across neurology services.

The NAI has said increased nurse specialists are essential for providing including nurse-led clinics, rapid access clinics, telephone advisory services and outreach services.

Nurse specialists improve the quality of care at lower cost by preventing unnecessary admissions through advice, information, support, counselling and adjustments in medication, the NAI said.

Magdalen Rogers, NAI executive director, raised concerns about how the shortage will impact the 800,000 people in Ireland living with neurological conditions.

“Four fifths of Irish people living with Parkinson's disease, for example, do not have access to a nurse specialist, because of the absence of nurse specialists in adult neurology services for complex neurological conditions while there are no specialist nurses for rare complex conditions such as Huntington’s disease,” Ms Rogers explained.

“Investing in nurse specialists in neurology services is critical to reducing waiting lists and improving patient care.

“Latest figures show 23,815 people on waiting lists for a neurology appointment. This compares to 13,218 on the waiting list in 2015.

“We have clear evidence within our own health system of the role of nurse specialists in waiting list reduction and prevention of hospital admission.”

The NAI have called on members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health to support its call to significantly increase the number of nurse specialists in neurology by up to 20 additional nurses per year over the next five years.

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