People with neurological conditions face losing vital services as charity funding scheme issues remain unresolved since last June

People with neurological conditions once again facing the loss of vital services as charity funding scheme issues remain unresolved since last June

Last June twelve neurological charities supporting people with neurological conditions such as stroke, dementia and multiple sclerosis were facing closure or the loss of vital frontline services due to the decision by the Minister for the Environment not to renew existing funding to ALL the neurological charities which were on the SSNO funding scheme to support national voluntary organisations.

As we prepare to mark National Brain Awareness Week from March 9th to 15th, Irish people with neurological conditions and their families once again face the loss of vital services and the closure of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, the single umbrella body representing the voice of the over 700,000 people who are living with neurological conditions in this country.

Ireland’s neurological care services are historically underdeveloped and underresourced with long waiting lists for diagnosis and treatment and the significant lack of neurorehabilitation services which would be taken for granted in other developed countries. Irish people are critically dependent on the services provided by charities and the loss of funding under this scheme represents the loss of over €600,000 to an already struggling and underfunded neurological care service in this country.

Minister Alan Kelly announced a temporary extension of funding to June 2015. The organisations have since been subjected to two separate reviews, one carried out by Pobal, and another joint review by his own Department and the Department of Health and both have failed to announce any decision to date. The Minister has not responded to requests from the umbrella organisation representing these groups, the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, to meet with him to discuss the situation.

Mags Rogers of the Neurological Alliance of Ireland, the national umbrella of neurological charities said today “It is now the beginning of March and the charities affected have no choice but to put committed and experienced staff on protective notice and explain to vulnerable people with neurological conditions and their families that, once again, they face the loss of critical services such as counselling, helpline support and home supports to enable people to stay out of hospital and in their own communities. Given the delays and lack of communication with the organisations affected, it is hard to escape the conclusion that there is no value placed on these services and the people with neurological conditions and their families who are dependent on them”.

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland are calling for immediate action to extend funding to these organisations given the delay in achieving any progress on this issue since last June and for the Minister to respond and agree to meet the organisations involved.

MORE INFORMATION

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland

www.nai.ie

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland is the national umbrella body for over thirty not for profit organisations working with people with neurological conditions. It aims to promote the development of services and supports for people with neurological conditions and their families throughout Ireland and greater understanding of their needs through policy development, advocacy, research and awareness raising.

List of Neurological Charities Impacted by the Withdrawal of Funding Neurological Alliance of Ireland Acquired Brain Injury Ireland Migraine Association of Ireland Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland Alzheimer Society of Ireland Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland Muscular Dystrophy Ireland Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association Huntingtons Disease Association Chronic Pain Ireland Irish Heart Foundation Post Polio Support Group