Today, the Neurological Alliance Ireland published a press release in which they say that the “Government Strategy on Rehabilitation Delivers Nothing” – not even the promised draft (!) implementation plan.


They say that the National Policy and Strategy for the Provision of Neurorehabilitation Services was published by the government in December 2011 with a three year implementation period (2013-2015). Nothing came out of it.

Why are you not surprised? – The sad truth is that everybody would have been surprised had anything, anything at all, resulted from this ‘strategy’ – because it lacked the most essential data, did not include any targets, and had not been allocated any resources.

This is at national level.

Our own personal experience, at a personal level, it is not very different. First, Pádraig needed to leave Ireland to get the treatment and therapies he needed, otherwise he would have had to wait a year for admission to the NRH. That wait would have been in Beaumont Hospital, in an acute neurosurgical ward. Having left the hospital in Germany, having lived with us for almost nine months, he came back to Dublin, but had to be admitted to a hospital to be assessed for a home care package. Nine weeks later, we were told that applications for equipment and carer-hours are being submitted based on the NRH’s assessment, but there is no similar plan for therapy. Carers will be trained and ‘community’ therapists have been trained to support the carers. There is talk about Pádraig being treated as an outpatient in the NRH, for a period of six weeks, after a certain period imposed by a waiting list. There is talk about referring Pádraig to other services. There is talk about taking up with the HSE the fact that nursing homes receive money to provide therapies for their patients – but not home carers.

Why are you not surprised? – The sad truth is that everybody would have been surprised had anything, anything been provided in terms of professional therapy for Pádraig at home. Instead, people talk about ‘maintenance’, even palliative neurological care – being provided by the carers. They talk about very limited resources being available, not about what Pádraig needs. It almost sounds like, and I know that I am being cynical now, as if Pádraig should have been ‘assessed’ by the HSE accountants, not by specialist therapists.

I am convinced, and would like to be told if I am wrong, that any professional would agree that, given the phenomenal progress Pádraig has made over the past two years, Pádraig’s continued progress needs to be supported professionally, with professional therapists.

Yet, while I have seen plans and proposals for care and for equipment, I have not seen a plan or a proposal for therapy.

Looks like as if this has to be done outside of the system. Because, in the words of the Taoiseach, the Irish Prime Minister, this health ‘system’ is broken. And nothing is being done to fix it, at least not in relation to neurological rehabilitation – there isn’t even a plan. After five years.

But let’s stop moaning and let’s do something ourselves. Check out An Saol  and its first Meeting of Volunteers. ‘Like’ An Saol. Attend the meeting.

An Saol