Neurology waiting lists need ‘immediate action’ in Northern Ireland

A new report has found that neurology services in the UK are severely stretched, underfunded, and overlooked .. this despite the fact that one in six people in the UK are living with a neurological condition.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 6:36 pm
New report finds that neurology services in the UK are severely stretched

The findings from the MS Society’s #NeurologyNow report have particular resonance in the Province where 3,500 neurology patients had to be recalled – Northern Ireland’s biggest ever patient recall – after concerns were raised about the work of Dr Michael Watt.

The MS Society’s report found that almost two thirds (63%) of neurology professionals find it extremely or very challenging to provide a good service to all their patients.

It also revealed that during the pandemic people with MS experienced their symptoms worsening, with over half (53%) saying this was caused by not getting specialist support.

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Consultant Neurologist Dr Gavin McDonnell who has patients from across NI said: “Workforce pressures mean people struggle to access neurology services when they need to. Our waiting lists were unacceptable before Covid-19 and those lists continue to grow.

“Access for those already within the system but awaiting review is also limited and can be a source of frustration and anxiety to patients.

“We cannot pretend that people will not come to harm while waiting to be seen. It’s a situation that needs immediate action and a dedicated focus from all of those responsible for organising, commissioning and delivering healthcare.”

David Galloway, Director of MS Society NI, said: “The findings from our report are deeply troubling but not surprising. In Northern Ireland neurology services were at a crisis point before the pandemic and things have got worse.”