Shortage of neurology specialists
Late diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) affects 8,000 people in Ireland
Studies have shown that early diagnosis allows people with MS to remain in the workplace. Photograph: Thinkstock
Ireland ranks 33rd in the developed world in terms of the provision of neurologists, and this amounts to a false economy, a conference will hear this week.
Late diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), which affects 8,000 people in Ireland, costs the State much more than would be the case if Ireland had more neurologists, according to the European MS Platform (EMSP), which will hold its annual meeting in Dublin on Thursday and Friday. Some 200 delegates and medical professionals from across Europe will participate.
EMSP project co-ordinator Emma Rogan said Ireland had 30 neurologists in the country; fewer per head of population than in Mongolia.
Ms Rogan maintained that early diagnosis allowed patients to manage their symptoms better and live a more productive life.
Just 25 per cent of people with MS in Ireland work full-time, which is one of the lowest rates in Europe.
However, studies have shown that early diagnosis allows people with MS to remain in the workplace.
The Neurological Alliance of Ireland, an umbrella group for the 700,000 people in Ireland who are affected by neurological conditions, called on the Government to look at the human and economic benefits of prioritising investment in community services for those with neurological conditions.