One of the Irish Republic's two neurophysiologists is to retire later this year, which may result in a doubling of the waiting time for treatment of many people with epilepsy.
Brian O'Moore, based at the Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, leaves his post later in the year, and his colleague, Sean Connolly, has said that he can not take on any more work:
"I am working way beyond capacity now, so there is no way I can take on any more work. I have been under increasing pressure as clinicians have become aware of the benefits of neurophysiology, and the requests are coming from all over the country. Demands might increase, but I won't be able to increase my output. If Ireland had the same number of neurophysiologists per head of population as Britain, there would be 11 in the republic", Connolly said.
Mike Glynn, Chief Executive of Brainwave, the Irish national epilepsy association, commented that this was an area where work is under-funded and that this further cutback could set back the diagnosis and treatment of people with epilepsy, adding:
"Most of the difficult cases will end up in Beaumont. The people most affected by epilepsy will be the ones that are hardest hit."
Representatives from the Beaumont Hospital recently met the Irish Minister for Health, Micheál Martin, putting the case that Ireland needed a centre for neurophysiology, as well as extra funding for more consultants and EEG monitoring services.