MS Ireland welcomes some elements of the plan, including:
Page 11 – “Implementing, via a national drugs management system, revised clinical access protocols developed by the HSE’s neurology clinical programme in respect of multiple sclerosis”
This is a very positive development regarding access to medications that are delivered via hospital-only infusions. To date, these medications have been funded through individual hospital budgets, resulting in people with MS being denied access to prescribed treatments if the hospital they attend has run out of money. MS Ireland has been advocating for the development of a national funding system for these medications for a long time, and fully welcomes this inclusion in the 2017 Service Plan. MS Ireland will be liaising closely with the HSE regarding the development and roll-out of the new system, and will keep our members updated as we receive new information.
Page 32 – “Finalise and progress the implementation of the framework for neuro-rehabilitation strategy and establish an innovative pilot day service aimed at supporting people with severe acquired brain injuries”
MS Ireland and our allies in the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) have been involved in an ongoing campaign calling on the Government to invest in Ireland’s critically underdeveloped neurorehabilitation services. The National Neurorehabilitation Strategy was released in 2011 and to date, no tangible progress has been made towards implementing it. MS Ireland is pleased to note the inclusion of this commitment to progress the Strategy in 2017 and will be working closely with NAI and their other member organisations to make sure that these commitments are realised and to secure further progress in the development of services and supports for people with neurological conditions and their families.
However, MS Ireland also shares the disappointment of Age Action and other charities supporting people in need of home care that the 2017 Service Plan only commits to provide 10.57 million home help hours to 49,000 people, the same as was delivered in 2016, despite rising demand driven by demographic changes. MS Ireland will continue to work with other organisations representing people affected by this issue to try and put pressure on the Government to invest properly in home care services.