Shortage of neurology nurse specialists at Limerick hospital

Neurological Alliance of Ireland executive director Magdalen Rogers.

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick has less than one third of the number of neurology nurse specialists needed to reach recommended staffing levels.

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) revealed the figures during a briefing on the issue for TDs and Senators in Leinster House last week.

The NAI said that based on local and international recommendations, University Hospital Limerick needs 11 nurse specialists in neurology. The hospital has just three, a shortfall of eight nurse specialists caring for people in Limerick and surrounding counties.

Nurses specialising in neurology are key to tackling waiting lists for neurology services and improving patient care.

The NAI brings together 30 non-profit organisations to advocate for the rights of 800,000 people in Ireland living with a neurological condition.

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In October 2021, the NAI launched their ‘Patients Deserve Better’ campaign to highlight the need for more nurse specialists in neurology in Limerick and nationwide.

NAI Executive Director Magdalen Rogers said they were are pleased with the strong levels of support from Limerick TDs and Senators for their campaign.

“Waiting lists for neurology services have increased by over 80 per cent since 2015. According to Irish and international best practice guidelines, we have an overall shortfall of 100 nurse specialists across neurology services.

“Nurse specialists in neurology are key to tackling waiting lists and improving outcomes for patients. We are calling on TDs and Senators from Limerick to support our call to significantly increase the number of nurse specialists in neurology over the next five years, starting with Budget 2023.”

At the briefing in Leinster House, patient advocates and representatives from the medical profession shared their experiences about the impact the shortage of nurse specialists in neurology is having on waiting lists and service delivery.

The Patients Deserve Better campaign is seeking investment to tackle the serious shortage of nurse specialists in neurology and works with people with neurological conditions including: the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, the Irish Heart Foundation and the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.