Campaign warns of ‘critical gaps’ in staffing in neurology services in DublinPadraig Conlon 01 Mar 2022
Increasing the number of nurse specialists in neurology will reduce waiting lists, free up hospital resources and deliver real improvements for neurology patients.
That’s according to the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), which today launched a new campaign seeking investment to tackle the serious shortage of nurse specialists in neurology in Dublin.
Based on local and international recommendations, Dublin hospitals need 85 nurse specialists in neurology.
They have just 28; a shortfall of 57 nurse specialists caring for people in Dublin and surrounding counties.
Nationally, there is a shortfall of over 100 nurse specialists in neurology in the Irish healthcare system.
Speaking about the need to address critical gaps in staffing, Magdalen Rogers NAI Executive Director said:
“There are 800,000 people living in Ireland with a neurological condition and they have been historically underserved by the health system.
“We know that 24,000 people are waiting for a neurology outpatient appointment, with 8,601 waiting more than 18 months resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment.
“Neurology patients deserve better.
“Investing in more nurse specialists in neurology is a cost-efficient way of freeing up capacity of neurology consultants, reducing waiting times and ensuring that patients in Dublin and across the country have access to the specialist support they need to manage their conditions.”
Nurse specialists in neurology provide a range of services to people with neurological conditions including nurse-led clinics, rapid access clinics, telephone advisory services and outreach services.
They can significantly improve the quality of care at lower cost, mainly by preventing unnecessary admissions, through advice, information, support, counselling and – with appropriate safeguards – adjustments in medication.
At the launch, Dr Orla Hardiman, National Clinical Lead for Neurology, explained how nurse specialists in neurology provide a range of services to people with neurological conditions including nurse-led clinics, rapid access clinics, telephone advisory services and outreach services.
“Nurse specialists in neurology significantly improve the quality of care at lower cost, mainly by preventing unnecessary admissions, through advice, information, support, counselling and – with appropriate safeguards – adjustments in medication,” she said.
“We know that patients who have access to nurse specialists in neurology have benefited from improved psychological well-being, greater involvement in their care, being more prepared for tests and investigations, resulting in enhanced confidence to self-manage their condition.
“More nurse specialists in neurology will also ensure that patients get quicker access to outpatient appointments by freeing up consultant neurology outpatient capacity, thereby reducing waiting lists.”
Martina McKenna, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Neurology, Emer O Sullivan, person living with muscular dystrophy and Veronica Byrne, person living with multiple sclerosis also spoke at the launch.
The Patients Deserve Better is supported by Roche and brings together over thirty non-profit organisations working with people with neurological conditions.