Support PAI in seeking direct Government funding and an increase in neurological services.

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Dear friends,

It is time to show our dissatisfaction with the health services - or lack of them - for our members and their families.

Despite our best efforts - and a meeting with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, last year – the Parkinson’s Association still has no direct government funding, no commitment on a nationwide Nurse Specialist service and our members still have to travel abroad for DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) surgery. When combined with the chronic/critical shortage of Neurologists in this country, it seems we are the poor relations in the Irish health service.

So, we are organising a protest in advance of Parkinson’s Awareness Week and want as many of you as possible, along with your members and their families to take part. Independent MEP, Marian Harkin, who is also the EU Ambassador for people with Parkinson’s plans to be there to support us. The lunchtime protest will take place at 1pm on Thursday 29th March outside Leinster House. We will hand in a letter to the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, appealing for funding, along with our petition signed by thousands of people.

We will also demand the Nurse Specialist service we need, and deserve, as a so-called First World country. It is not too much to ask that the twelve thousand people with Parkinson’s Disease should have access to a Nurse Specialist within their area. There are only five such positions across the entire country and one of the posts is vacant. Another, in the north west, is funded entirely by members of the Parkinson’s Association. Four nurses for twelve thousand people’s long-term needs is grossly inadequate.

Travelling abroad for surgery is costly for the state and difficult for patients and their families. If DBS surgery was available here it could be more cost-effective and, crucially, more people with Parkinson’s Disease could avail of it.

A nationwide Nurse Specialist Service and direct funding and would save the government money in the long-term as it would reduce the number of bed nights our members need to spend in hospital. (This is borne out by the Specialist Nurse Service for those with epilepsy). The Parkinson’s Association, with its knowledge of people’s needs, could target funding and services where they are most needed.

Long Term Illness should not mean being deprived of surgery and nursing care in the long term.

Please spread the word about the protest on Thursday March 29th. Join in to make our voices heard.

Note: Parkinson’s Awareness Week runs from Monday 9th -Sunday 15th April. The annual Unity Walk will take place on Sunday 15th April.



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