In October 2021, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland launched the Patients Deserve Better campaign which highlighted the critical importance of neurology nurses in our health system and the severe under-resourcing of this role. Based on local and international figures Ireland should have 142 neurology nurses, but at this time only had 42. Consultant Neurologists, Neurology Nurses and Patient Representatives all spoke at a total of 6 regional virtual launches to discuss the importance of the neurology nurse role and the needs of each individual hospital (Limerick, Cork, Sligo, Galway, Waterford & Dublin). A total of 131 Parliamentary Questions were generated to seek clarity on this issue and neurology nurses were mentioned in 22 Parliamentary Debates.
On 30th March 2022, Magdalene Rogers (NAI Executive Director) and Prof. Orla Hardiman (Neurology Clinical Lead) were invited to speak to the Joint Oireachtas Health Committee on this topic. A HSE press release that day outlined that an additional 16 neurology nurses had been allocated.
On 15th June 2022, the NAI hosted an AV Room event at Leinster House to update elected representatives on the status of the Patients Deserve Better campaign and answer questions. Over 50 elected representatives attended this session showing support for the campaign.
On 22nd June 2022, Seanad Eireann endorsed a motion to support the Patients Deserve Better campaign. Over 10 Senators made contributions to the debate in support of the campaign.
On 28th September 2022, speaking in Dáil Éireann, Minister Anne Rabbitte confirmed that as part of Budget 2023 “€1.7 million has been secured to invest in the neurological nursing workforce, with more than 23 additional neurological nursing whole-time equivalents across neurological centres.”
MSunderstood Café and Roadshow Gives Customers a Taste of Living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
In March 2018, MS Ireland opened the MSunderstood Cafe in the heart of Dublin, inviting members of the public in to experience a small taste of the challenges people living with MS experience on a daily basis. The pop-up cafe was designed to be a challenging experience that simulated some of the symptomatic impact of MS and due to a hugely positive response, the cafe experience was taken on the road for a 10 day Irish tour with the MSunderstood Bus.
Ava Battles, Chief Executive, MS Ireland said, “MS Ireland believes that people with MS should have access to the right treatment at the right time. This may seem like a very basic demand, and one that it would be hard to refuse, but the truth is that this is not the situation for many people in Ireland today. We hope that Irish politicians and policy makers will realise how crucial speedy access to treatment is and change our market access system without delay.”