Here is something you can do if you live in Ireland. Check out the website of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland and send a message to your TD to support a private members’ motion.

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) today published details of a Private Members’ Motion to be raised in the Irish Parliament, the Dail, this coming Wednesday. They are asking people living in Ireland to contact their TDs, their members of parliament, to support this motion.

You can find the text of the motion here and you can send an automated message to your TD from here.

The motion addresses the incredible state of the services, or rather: the lack thereof, in neurological rehabilitation. Just some points:

— the National Policy and Strategy for Neurorehabilitation Services (neurorehabilitation strategy) was published by the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2011, with an implementation plan promised within six months but still unpublished six years later;

— the Minister for Health in February 2017, requested an implementation plan to be published by the end of June 2017, but a working group to develop the plan has not yet been put together and this is the second deadline announced and missed in 2017 as the HSE will not deliver the plan by December 2017;

— it is estimated that only one in six people who need specialist rehabilitation services in Ireland can access them;

— Ireland has less than half the number of specialist rehabilitation beds recommended for its population;

— Ireland has the lowest number of consultants in rehabilitation medicine in Europe;

… and they are not mentioning:

  • the lack of social rehabilitation. The my mother in-law was in her late eighties, the was collected from her home to play Bingo twice a week, despite here repeated protests (“I haven’t played bingo in my life and I will not start playing it now”) because people need social interaction. – But guys in their 20s with an acquired brain injury don’t seem to have the same needs …?
  • rehabilitation services are available in places like the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC), just a few kilometres away from where we live. But – our request to offer these services to our son was rejected because he was not born with a disability!?
  • home care services, although sanctioned and budgeted for, are not delivered, two thirds of our son’s carers are allowed to take leave simultaneously, carers ring in sick – but there is no cover provided; all that when I am looking not just after Pádraig but after someone else in the house too!?
  • the list goes on and on and on…

What is going to change? When is it going to change?

The answer is easy: when WE WILL MAKE THAT CHANGE. Nobody else will do it for us.

50 years after a famous book was published by (another:) famous German, here is a slightly modified quote: A spectre is haunting Ireland – the spectre of decency. Dreamboaters of Ireland. Unite!