It has emerged that the Republic of Ireland only has six specialist Parkinson’s nurses, despite the country’s 12,000 patients living with the condition.
The NHS defines the condition as follows: “Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.”
Symptoms include shaking, stiffness and slow movement.
Now advocacy groups and campaigners are petitioning for a significant increase in spend and staffing levels on Parkinson’s care in Ireland, with approximately one specialist nurse per 2,000 patients in the country.
Tony Wilkinson, chair of the Cork branch of the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, said to newspaper CorkBeo: “There is a serious lack of support for those of us living with Parkinson’s in this country.
“There is meant to be one nurse for every 300 patients, but we have less than 10 for over 12,000 of us. We deserve better.”
An interview in the Irish Examiner with patient advocate Gary Boyle showed the difficulty of Parkinson’s sufferers.
Just 44 when he was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease, Boyle described the casual manner in which experts and other healthcare professionals alike described his situation to him.
“Don’t worry – it won’t kill you,” he told the Irish Examiner one expert said to him.
He said the lack of support was one of the hardest parts of his journey.
The newspaper suggested that, proportionally, based on Northern Ireland’s 10 or 12 Parkinson’s professionals, the Republic should have 31.