People with disabilities “ignored” by HSE and Department of Health

Margaret Murphy O’Mahony

THE Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that the south of the country is being left behind in terms of disability services by the HSE and Department of Health.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was making the comments following oral questions in the Dáil with the Minister for Disability, Finian McGrath.

“Time, and time again, it has been estimated that Ireland, as a country, requires at least 270 rehabilitative beds for people living with neurological disabilities such as Parkinson’s Disease and multiple sclerosis, as well as people who living with the after effects of stroke or acquired brain injury.

“At present, we have less than half this number, and all of them are located in Dublin, at the National Rehabilitation Hospital.

“Over 25% of all referrals to the National Rehabilitation Hospital originate from the south of the country.

“When hospitals in Cork and Kerry were reconfigured in 2011, it was recommended that a consultant in rehabilitation medicine, shared between the HSE south and the National Rehabilitation Hospital, would be located in the south of the country.

“Five years later, and we are still waiting. It makes no sense to completely centralise all our rehabilitation beds in one city when there is ample scope for facility in other parts of the country.

“I am disappointed by the Minister’s reply to me. He says that his, and the Department’s current priority, is the replacement of beds at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dublin.

“While additional capacity should always be welcomed, it’s missing the point that we need these beds in the south of the country.

“Why are we forcing people with disabilities to travel long distances to Dublin? It doesn’t make sense to me.

“I have been informed that HSE’s South/South West Hospital Group is currently considering the development of a regional specialist rehabilitation services in the South. This cannot be delivered quickly enough, and I will continue to press the Minister to deliver on this project,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.