3.7.2017 Letter from We Need Our Heads Examined campaign published in Irish Times

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The following letter issued by NAI on behalf of the We Need Our Heads Examined Campaign was published in the Irish Times on 3rd July


Representatives of the campaign are due to meet with Minister Simon Harris on 12th July to discuss the issues outlined in the letter, including that his commitment to publishing an implementation plan for the National Neuro-rehabilitation Strategy by June has not been achieved.



Dear Sir


As the representatives of national charities representing people with neurological conditions, we are writing to express our extreme concern at the lack of action on tackling the "silent crisis" in neuro-rehabilitation in this country. What we are calling for is a commitment from this Government to multi annual investment across hospital and community to deliver the neuro-rehabilitation services that are taken for granted across the rest of Europe.

Ireland is a European blackspot when it comes to neuro-rehabilitation services at every stage of the pathway from hospital to home.  Many are losing a vital window of recovery as they wait months for a neurorehab bed or appropriate services in the community.  

The National Neuro-rehabilitation Strategy was published in 2011 with an implementation plan expected within six months. We are still waiting on that plan over six years later. Minister for Health Simon Harris committed to publishing the plan by June this year in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government. We now understand that deadline will not be met and no timeline has been given for when the plan will be delivered.

It is one year since we launched our "We Need Our Heads Examined" campaign for action on neuro-rehabilitation. Since then, we have had more empty promises, following on from more than a decade of failure by successive Ministers to address this health crisis which is leaving thousands of Irish people each year experiencing the unnecessary burden of disability, unable to leave hospital or living in inappropriate settings and with families struggling to cope.

Yours Sincerely,

Magdalen Rogers

Executive Director, Neurological Alliance of Ireland


Kieran Loughran

CEO, Headway


Thomas Lillis

Chairperson, Huntingtons Disease Association of Ireland


Paula Gilmore

CEO,  Parkinsons Association of Ireland


Barbara O Connell

CEO, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland


Chris Macey

Head of Advocacy, Irish Heart Foundation


Richard Lodge

CEO, Muscular Dystrophy Ireland


Reinhard Schaler

CEO, An Saol


Tina Leonard

Head of Advocacy and Public Affairs

Alzheimer Society of Ireland


Ava Battles

Chief Executive, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland


Kathleen O Meara

Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Fundraising

Rehab Group


Natasha Smith

Chairperson, Brain Tumour Ireland


James McCarthy

Chairman, Spinal Injuries Ireland

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