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Concern on long neurology waiting lists
[Posted: Fri 17/08/2012 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
A campaign group for people with brain conditions has expressed serious concern that thousands of public patients are waiting a number of years to see a neurologist in a public hospital outpatients clinic.
Latest figures from the HSE show that 5,391 people nationally have been waiting over a year for an appointment in a hospital neurology clinic.
Of these, 954 have been waiting over four years for an appointment, 544 between three and four years, 1,147 between two and three years and 2,746 between a year and two years.
Mags Rogers of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland told irishhealth.com that neurology outpatient waiting lists remained a major problem.
She said people on these waiting lists would be seeking consultations for a wide range of conditions, including epilepsy, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and migraine.
Ms Rogers said it was a cause for concern that waiting lists were still so long.
She said a HSE initiative had led to the appointment of seven additional consultant neurologists, and this was welcome, but this would only bring our numbers up to around 341, which was well below the recommended number of 42 to cater for the population.
Ms Rogers said the NAI was also seeking clarification from the HSE on whether the hiring of additional consultants would be hit by the recent blanket ban by the HSE on practically all health service recruitment.
She said having additional consultants would be important in any attempt to drive down waiting lists, but at present, they did not seem to be reducing.
However, Peter Murphy, of the epilspsy support group Brainwave, said additional specialist nurses in epilepsy had been hired and this should have some impact on services.
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