Call for consultant neurologist at Bantry General Hospital

April 4th, 2024 11:00 AM

By Martin Claffey

Magdalen Rogers, executive director of Neurological Alliance of Ireland, launching the campaign.

Share this article

GLENGARRIFF woman Ruth O’Brien knows well the arduous trip she faces to Cork University Hospital.

Ruth lives with multiple sclerosis, and must travel to CUH for infusions, with a drive of up to 90 minutes each way.

‘With my MS, one of my symptoms is fatigue and the trip to CUH has a huge impact on my wellbeing in the days and weeks following the journey,’ she said.

A new campaign calling for outpatient consultant neurology services at Bantry General Hospital aims to slash the 200km round trip faced by patients in West Cork.

The Neurological Alliance of Ireland (NAI) wants commitments from the HSE to provide permanent outpatient consultant neurology services in Bantry.

Bantry General Hospital currently provides some clinics for neurological patients. The NAI is calling for this service to be protected by appointing a consultant neurologist at the hospital.

The regional campaign was launched on Tuesday. Speakers at the launch included Ruth, who is a patient representative of the group; Magdalen Rogers, NAI executive director; and Professor Aisling Ryan, a consultant neurologist at CUH.

More than 800,000 people live with neurological conditions across Ireland.

Ruth was first diagnosed with MS in 2015. ‘I had a quick diagnosis due to the severity of my symptoms. My initial treatment plan was monthly infusions where I had to travel from Glengarriff to Cork University Hospital (CUH) – a 90-minute journey each way. I now travel every six months for my infusions, the treatment itself takes five hours and then when you factor in the 90-minute drive either side it requires a full day of annual leave from work.'

‘If I was able to attend an outpatient neurology clinic in Bantry General Hospital this would greatly reduce the amount of time I spend travelling.’

Magdalen Rogers said basing a consultant neurologist in Bantry would have huge positive benefits.

‘We know that patients travelling long distances for treatment suffer poorer outcomes, from delays in diagnosis to living with debilitating symptoms.

‘Providing consultant neurology outpatient services in Bantry General Hospital and regional hospitals across Ireland will not only have a positive impact on a patient’s overall health, but it reduces unnecessary admissions, reduces length of stay and unnecessary tests.’

‘Set out in Sláintecare reform, patients have the right to access services closer to their homes and our elected representatives have a responsibility to see this promise through. We are calling on elected representatives in Cork and the HSE to commit to delivering these.’

Share this article