Community neurorehabilitation teams urgently needed, warns Neurological Alliance of Ireland

NAI brief Oireachtas members ahead of Brain Awareness Week which takes place from March 13 – 19

There are only two community neurorehabilitation teams in Ireland, despite nine teams being required. This means that only 15% of neurological patients in Ireland have access to vital care to support their recovery.

That’s according to the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI), which held a briefing on the issue, ahead of Brain Awareness Week, for Oireachtas members this morning (09.03.23) in the AV room in Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Alongside the NAI, the briefing heard from patient advocates and representatives from the medical community who are seeking a commitment from elected representatives and the HSE to tackle the absence of a community neurorehabilitation team in seven community healthcare organisations (CHOs) across the country. Funding for an additional two teams was announced in Budget 2023, but only two of the nine CHOs currently have a team in place.

In her opening address, Magdalen Rogers, NAI Executive Director, said: “Once a person receives a diagnosis of a neurological condition, they need to be supported in their recovery and the management of their condition. That’s what a community neurorehabilitation team does. It brings together health care professionals from a range of disciplines such as an occupational therapist, a speech and language therapist, a physiotherapist and a clinical psychologist to enable a person living with a neurological condition to live well.”

As well outlining the positive impact a community neurorehabilitation team can have on a patient’s recovery, the NAI presented the economic rationale for urgently filling this need in the seven CHOs that do not have a team in place.

Ms Rogers continued: "For every euro spent on a community neurorehabilitation team, the health service saves 11 euro. Having these teams in place is vital in reducing the length of stay and delayed discharges therefore freeing up beds in acute hospitals. The neurorehabilitation team also prevents unnecessary admissions to hospitals and improves the overall well-being and quality of life of patients with a range of neurological conditions. We have estimated that having the teams in place could save up to 42,000 bed days annually.

“We are calling on elected representatives and the HSE to commit to delivering the services for the people they represent in their constituencies across Ireland.”

Sinead Lucey Brennan, a person living with an acquired brain injury, from North Co. Dublin shared her lived experience at the briefing: “I suffered from a stroke brought on by a brain haemorrhage 6 years ago and I now live full time with an acquired brain injury. When I was discharged from Beaumont, there was no team in place in the community, I had no support. I had to wait ten months to see a neuropsychologist. The neuropsychologist directed me to Headway and without their support group I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the day-to-day challenges I face.

“We are completely lacking when it comes to supporting people living with neurological conditions in the community. Neurological patients need timely access to rehabilitation. We shouldn’t have to fight for these services. We need our represented electives and the HSE to take action now.”

Speakers at the briefing included:

  • Magdalen Rogers, NAI Executive Director;
  • Dr Paul Carroll, National Clinical Lead for Rehabilitation Medicine;
  • Dr Sean O’Dowd, National Clinical Lead for Dementia;
  • Dr Rachel Doyle, Consultant Geriatrician and Stroke Physician;
  • Professor Orla Hardiman National Clinical Lead for Neurology;
  • Ivan O’Regan, person living with Parkinson’s Disease from Cork; and
  • Caroline Leonard, person living with an acquired brain injury from Enniskerry Co. Wicklow

Patients Deserve Better campaign

The Patients Deserve Better campaign brings together 22 non-profit organisations working with people with neurological conditions. The Patient Deserve Better campaign is a joint initiative by NAI and Roche Products (Ireland) Ltd.

For more information visit:

Date Entered/Updated:
Expiry Date:
Region: Nationwide