Mainstream Health and Disability: The Facts DFI Factsheet - Mainstream

Issued on July 26 2017

Mainstream health services are often not appropriate and/or accessible to the needs of people with disabilities.


  • The cost of with living with a chronic illness or disability is not properly assessed within the medical card system.[1]
  • Many patients just cannot afford to pay prescription charges. Instead they gamble with their health every day, either by reducing their medication or stopping it entirely.[2]
  • The Long Term Illness Scheme excludes many conditions such as mental illness.[3]

Waiting Lists

  • A total of 13,555 people were awaiting an outpatient appointment for neurology, 2,327 waiting longer than 12 months in June 2015.[4]
  • At the end of July 2016, the number of patients waiting over 18 months constituted 4.5% of the total inpatient waiting list.[5]


  • Mental health is currently understaffed by 20%.[6]
  • The recommended ratio for neurologists to the general population is 1:70,000 however this ratio increases to 1:200,000 in the mid-west.[7]
  • In the past 7 years, there has been a loss of 5,000 nursing/midwifery posts.[8]

Primary Care Networks

To date, 100 Primary Care Centres are already operational which has significantly enhanced the accessibility of health services in local communities.

27 Primary Care Centres are expected to be operational by 2018.[9]

Primary care networks would benefit the entire community and in particular people with disabilities, older people, and children.[10]

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Article 25 of the UN CRPD ensures that people with disabilities enjoy ‘the highest attainable standard of health.’[11]




[1] Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare Report (Neurological Alliance of Ireland)

[2] Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare (Irish Pharmacy Union)     

[3] Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare (Genetic and Rare Disorders Association)

[4] National Waiting List Data (June 2015) National Treatment Purchase Fund

[5] National Waiting List Data(June 2015) National Treatment Purchase Fund

[6] Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare Report (May 2017)

[7] Neurological Alliance of Ireland Pre-Budget Submission (2015)

[8] Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Healthcare Submission by Irish Health Service

[9] Parliamentary Question Simon Harris June 2017

[10] Irish Medical Times (2015) Roll out of primary care networks are urged

[11] UN CRPD Article 25