Friday, May 14, 2004
Waterford News & Star
"THERE are 14 neurologists in Ireland, compared to 123 in Albania, which has a similar population. Of this 14, there are none in the south-east, where there are 55,000 people with neurological conditions." These were just two of the startling statistics given by Dr. Brian Sweeney, Consultant Neurologist at Cork University Hospital, at a specially convened Information/Awareness meeting at the Woodlands Hotel, Waterford, recently.
The meeting had been organised by Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, MS Society of Ireland and Headway Ireland, three of the many agencies who support members with various neurological conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Alzheimers, Motor Neurone Disease, Acquired Brain Injury and many more.
The purpose of the meeting was to increase awareness among local public representatives of the great need for a Neurology Service in the South East as recommended in the Comhairle na nOspidéal Report 2003 which recommended that three neurologists be appointed to Waterford Regional Hospital.
Individuals, affected by a neurological condition, and family members gave heartrending accounts of frequent, long, painful 3-hour trips to Dublin for a 15-minute consultation before beginning the hazardous journey home.
One member, Anna Fenlon, who has Multiple Sclerosis, told of the distress and fatigue the long trips to Dublin caused her. It forced her to make the decision not to travel to Dublin to see a neurologist and has not seen a neurologist for over 10 years now.
Other speakers who gave accounts of the effects on the family included Tom Brennan, Willie Tyrell and Brendan Somers.
There were questions from the floor to the panel which consisted of Dr. Sweeney, Dr. Orla Hardiman, Consultant Neurologist, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin; Dr. Riona Mulcahy, Consultant, Waterford Regional Hospital; Ms. Cora Long and Mr. Gus Byrne, both members of the South Eastern Health Board.
Public representatives who kindly gave their support included Dr. Liam Twomey, Anna Fenlon, Nuala Ryan, John Coonan, Gus Byrne, Phil Prendergast, Pat Codd, Joe McDonald, Cora Long, Mary O’Halloran, John Paul Phelan, Maurice Cummins, Tom Brennan and Bobby Aylward.
As Dr. Brian Sweeney so ably put it: “All we in the South East are looking
for is our fair share of the health budget for neurology services” For
further information, contact: MS Society of Ireland, Kilkenny Office at
056 7751522. Cliodhna Carroll, Headway Ireland, Tel: 056 7786240.
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