Ireland has a third-world standard of care for people with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders, according to Chairperson of the Cork branch of the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland (PAI) Pat Walsh.
Urging Cork patients and family members to attend the most significant gathering of Parkinson’s patients in Ireland – a one-day National ‘Patients’ Conference that will kick off the Movement Disorder Society’s 16th international Congress in Dublin – Mr Walsh said that Ireland is poorly prepared for the inevitable rise in incidence of Parkinson’s Disease over the coming decades.
The Parkinson’s Association of Ireland National Patients’ Conference will be held on June 17th at the National Conference Centre and will be attended by over 700 patients from around Ireland. It will open the week long MDS conference, which will be attended by 5,000 delegates, including some of the world’s leading movement disorder experts, a number of whom will speak at the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland Patients’ Conference .
“Latest research shows that 17% of the population in Ireland have a neurological condition and Parkinson’s accounts for a large proportion of that. Yet we only have half the recommended number of neurologists working in our public health system,” said Walsh.
“The statistics say we are getting this horribly wrong. Only one in four people here are able to access the national rehabilitation centre and we have just six rehab consultants when the recommended number for our population is 26. Internationally we compare very poorly. We have only one neurologist per 200,000 and Italy, by contrast, has one per 1,000.
“Incidence levels of Parkinson’s are expected to double by 2050 and unless we start taking this seriously in Ireland we will reach crisis levels long before that. In fact, we are not far off it already. Care levels in Ireland for Parkinson’s patients are simply not good enough. We all appreciate that money is in short supply but delivering proper levels of care will, in fact, save money as it will keep patients out of more long term care, which is a huge drain on the State.”