Fianna Fáil TDs for Sligo-Leitrim Eamon Scanlon and Marc Mac Sharry have welcomed the announcement of a dedicated Lyme disease unit in Dublin, saying that it will provide an opportunity for sufferers in Ireland to get diagnosed and treated at home.

The unit, which is an initiative of Dr. Jack Lambert, will be based at the Mater Hospital.  The Deputies are calling on the government to devise a strategy for Lyme disease to help the growing number of people living with the disease here.

Deputies Scanlon and Mac Sharry are the Co-Chairs and founders of the Oireachtas Cross Party Action Group on Lyme.

Deputy Scanlon commented, “I welcome the announcement that a dedicated Lyme disease unit is to be established by Dr. Jack Lambert, who is the leading specialist in the area.  This has been a long and frustrating road for Lyme disease sufferers and campaigners but they will now be able to avail of diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plans in Ireland.

“While this initiative is a major step forward, it must be backed up by government acknowledgement of the seriousness of the problem.  The existing service is extremely limited and the Health Minister has made no real effort to progress supports for those suffering from this debilitating condition”.

Deputy Mac Sharry added, “Lyme disease affects hundreds of people across this country, but many have been forced people to travel abroad for diagnosis, which delays their treatment and their ability to recover.  We need our health service embrace clinical diagnosis and provide adequate care pathways and social supports to patients and families dealing with what can be a life altering disease.

“As things stand the government is taking the path of least resistance and ignoring more proactive approach being taken in other countries.

“We need a whole of government approach which can oversee the introduction of a National Strategy on Lyme, which is appropriately resourced, and which can improve outcomes for those living with Lyme disease”.