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Clare group highlights diabetes struggle

DIABETES patients faced a five-year waiting time for an outpatient appointment back in September, 2020, a new document with input from local advocates has claimed.

Diabetes Ireland Volunteer and Advocate, Gráinne Flynn, her husband, Phil Miesle and another Clare local, Adrian Donnelly were involved in drafting Diabetes Ireland’s Pre-Budget Submission, which was presented to Clare Oireachtas members recently.

They highlighted some of the recommended actions that are really important for the estimated Clare 10,000 people living with diabetes need to be implemented, and how approximately 60% of the HSE’s annual diabetes related spending is on treating the largely preventable complications, such as limb amputations.

On average, the diabetes-related expenditure accounts for 10-12% of the annual HSE budget. In 2019, the HSE annual budget was €16 billion; the diabetes-related expenditure equalled €1.6 billion with an estimated 60% (€1 billion) of this spent on avoidable complications.

However, Ms Flynn pointed out very little has been invested directly into basic diabetes care delivery in recent years to reduce the spend on complications or to prevent them in our community.

Structured Education (DAFNE) not available in the UL Hospitals’ Group Adult Diabetes Service.

“We have become aware that funding seems to have been provided to some hospital groups to set up DAFNE centres in 2020 and we are very concerned that as the UL Hospitals’ Group had such a huge staff deficit that it will not be included in this scheme.”

The UL Hospitals’ Group is the only hospital group not providing Structured Type 1 Diabetes Education for Adults (DAFNE- Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating).
DAFNE is available in Ireland in selected sites since 2006. In 2021, there were five additional DAFNE centres added bringing the national total to 12 centres.
This indicates that funding seems to have been provided to some hospital groups to set up DAFNE centres.

Ms Flynn stressed the UL Hospitals’ Group should be included in the continued planned rollout of this diabetes education.

Insulin pumps as a treatment option for people with Type One diabetes have been available in Ireland since at least 2010, and are available in the paediatric diabetes service in Limerick since 2014.

However, The UL Hospitals’ Group still doesn’t provide it to adults with diabetes, even though many of the paediatric patients have since transitioned into this service without the support of specialist trained staff in this therapy.

It is understood this group is the only hospital group not providing insulin pumps to adults.

Diabetes Ireland is calling on the government and the HSE to extend Flash Glucose (Freestyle Libre) to diabetes patients who are 21 years of age and older.
Similar device (CGM Continuous Glucose Monitor), at almost twice the cost is available to those older than 21, resulting in a 200% annual increase in funding approvals since 2018 for CGM.

By Dan Danaher

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