20.2.2019 Key milestone for campaign as implementation plan published

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Today the HSE published an implementation plan for the National Neurorehabilitation Strategy, over eight years on from the launch of the original policy document. The three-year framework outlines a ten- step plan to develop neurorehabilitation services at hospital and community level across the country.

Local implementation teams will be responsible for developing community neurorehabilitation services within each Community Health Organisation (CHO) across the country, while inpatient and acute neurorehabilitation services will be developed in line with the National Trauma Strategy.

The Neurological Alliance established the "We Need Our Heads Examined" campaign along with fifteen of its member organisations in 2016 to call for action on neurorehabilitation. Today marks a key milestone in the campaign, with the publication of the long-awaited implementation plan. However, the NAI have warned that the plan will do nothing to improve access to neurorehabilitation unless it is accompanied by dedicated investment to support implementation.

The IF is available on the HSE website at http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/4/disability/neurorehabilitation/national-strategy-policy-for-the-provision-of-neuro-rehabilitation-services-in-ireland.pdf

Read the Campaign Press Release Below


"Sixteen national charities warn that release of the long awaited plan for rehabilitation services could be yet another broken promise for people with neurological conditions"


Seven years after the policy was published, the implementation plan to deliver the National Neurorehabilitation Strategy was released on the HSE website today.


Over 25,000 Irish people each year struggle to get rehabilitation for neurological conditions such as stroke, acquired brain injury, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. Waiting times for the only specialist centre, the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire can be up to six months and currently there are over 300 people on the waiting list.

No new services have been put in place since the neurorehabilitation strategy was published in 2011, Ireland continues to have less than half the number of inpatient beds required for its population and the lowest number of consultants in rehabilitation medicine in Europe.

The plan released today outlines a three year framework for the development of neurorehabilitation services across both hospital and community nationwide. Much of the detail still needs to be decided, including where inpatient rehabilitation units will be located around the country. A network of community neurorehabilitation teams will be established along with other specialist rehabilitation services including transitional and longer term residential care, day services, case management and vocational supports.

A group of 16 national charities launched a campaign in 2016 calling for action on neurorehabilitation. The "We Need Our Heads Examined" campaign welcomed the long awaited release of the plan today but warned that dedicated investment  will be needed over a number of years to support implementation. Spokesperson for the campaign, Mags Rogers, Executive Director with the Neurological Alliance of Ireland said today "This plan will do nothing for people with neurological disabilities throughout Ireland unless there is dedicated funding to support its implementation. They and their families have had years of broken promises. While we acknowledge that having a plan in place is a step forward, we now need real commitment to put the services in place".

Alexis Donnelly, a person living with multiple sclerosis, was part of the working group that developed the original strategy back in 2011. He said today " It would have been smarter to implement the strategy in 2011 when it was published and not wait more than seven years! Meantime so many people have got worse and it has ended up costing the State much more to care for people who would have done so much better with proper access to neurorehabilitation. Nevertheless, I do very much welcome the publication of an implementation plan. Having experienced a fully developed neuro-rehabilitation system abroad, I know what one should look like. I look forward to seeing such a system being developed quickly in Ireland".

The plan is available on the HSE website at




Notes for the Editor

For more information and to arrange interviews contact Mags Rogers, Neurological Alliance of Ireland at 086 1216957

The "We Need Our Heads Examined" campaign is supported by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, Headway Ireland, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, The Rehab Group. The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland, The Irish Heart Foundation, PSPA Ireland, Enable Ireland, Brain Tumour Ireland, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland, Huntingtons Disease Association of Ireland, Parkinson's Association of Ireland, Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Ataxia Ireland, Chronic Pain Ireland.

More information on the campaign is available at https://www.nai.ie/go/campaign_centre/we_need_our_heads_examined.



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