Ireland has an abysmal record in the care of the 12,000 people diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease and compares very badly with the rest of the West of Europe.
This was stated by Independent MEP Marian Harkin when she addressed a protest meeting organised by the Parkinsons Association of Ireland at Leinster House on Friday last.
While western European countries had a target of four Parkinsons Nurse Specialists for every 500 patients, Ireland had a total of just five Nurse Specialists, with four positions filled at present, to service 12,000 patients, she said. For every patient diagnosed with Parkinsons, early diagnosis coupled with appropriate medication was crucial to limiting the severity of symptoms and helping to maintain a reasonable quality of life for them, she emphasised.
“Today I spoke to Parkinsons patients from all over Ireland, and their carers, and I was shocked to hear of their neglect by the Department of Heath”, she said. In the absence of any government funding it was left to voluntary fundraising to provide the vital safety net for so many Parkinsons sufferers, she stressed.
“As a member of the Parkinsons Support Group in the European Parliament I am fully aware of how Ireland falls down on service provision and I will continue to try to ensure that programmes like Horizon 2020 will respond in a positive way to the research and treatment initiatives required to deliver the specialist needs of Parkinsons patients”, Marian Harkin MEP concluded.