There is a light at the end of this road. Standing tall. Helping the Dreamboat to navigate choppy waters.
The Westerhever Lighthouse is one of our favourite spots on the north coast. It’s wild, beautiful, and really in the middle of nowhere. We went there for a walk today when it was so windy that the whole area around the lighthouse was deserted, apart from a few sheep who didn’t have anywhere else to go. Spreading my arms and walking against the wind, I almost felt like flying.
Some ‘good’ news: The Irish Times today published a letter by the Neurological Alliance Ireland, signed by An Saol and many other organisations, calling on the Government to implement adequate neuro-rehabilitation services.
Sir, – As the representatives of national charities representing people with neurological conditions, we are writing to express our extreme concern at the lack of action on tackling the “silent crisis” in neuro-rehabilitation in this country.
What we are calling for is a commitment from this Government to multiannual investment across hospital and community to deliver the neuro-rehabilitation services that are taken for granted across the rest of Europe.
Ireland is a European blackspot when it comes to neuro-rehabilitation services at every stage of the pathway from hospital to home.
Many are losing a vital window of recovery as they wait months for a neuro-rehab bed or appropriate services in the community.
The National Neuro-rehabilitation Strategy was published in 2011 with an implementation plan expected within six months.
We are still waiting for that plan over six years later.
Minister for Health Simon Harris committed to publishing the plan by June this year in line with the commitment in the programme for government. We now understand that deadline will not be met and no timeline has been given for when the plan will be delivered.
It is one year since we launched our “We Need Our Heads Examined” campaign for action on neuro-rehabilitation.
Since then, we have had more empty promises, following on from more than a decade of failure by successive ministers to address this health crisis, which is leaving thousands of Irish people each year experiencing the unnecessary burden of disability, unable to leave hospital or living in inappropriate settings and with families struggling to cope. – Yours, etc,
MAGDALEN ROGERS, Executive Director, Neurological Alliance of Ireland;
KIERAN LOUGHRAN, Chief Executive, Headway;
THOMAS LILLIS, Chairman, Huntingtons Disease Association of Ireland;
PAULA GILMORE, Chief Executive, Parkinsons Association of Ireland;
BARBARA O’CONNELL, Chief Executive, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland;
CHRIS MACEY, Head of Advocacy, Irish Heart Foundation;
RICHARD LODGE, Chief Executive, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland;
REINHARD SCHALER, Chief Executive, An Saol;
TINA LEONARD, Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs, Alzheimer Society of Ireland;
AVA BATTLES, Chief Executive, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland;
KATHLEEN O’MEARA, Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Fundraising Rehab Group;
NATASHA SMITH, Chairwoman, Brain Tumour Ireland;
JAMES McCARTHY, Chairman, Spinal Injuries Ireland.
I know, it’s not really good news that a letter like this has to be written. But at least there are people who recognise that the lack of a cohesive policy and approach to neuro-rehabilitation cannot be allowed to be continued.