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Grainne Flynn, testing her blood sugar levels usung her glucose meter. Photograph by John Kelly.

Clare people set to join protest over the state of diabetes services

CLARE people with diabetes will participate in a public demonstration organised by the Mid-West Diabetes Group to highlight the lack of services next Sunday on World Diabetes Day at 1pm outside University Hospital Limerick.
Gráinne Flynn, from Ennis, who has lived with diabetes for 28 years, uses an insulin pump and manages her diabetes on the principles of Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating (DAFNE).
“I have to travel an hour, to an hour and a half, to my clinic appointments because the diabetes clinic that’s just a 30-minute drive away doesn’t have enough staff with specialist training in either of those tools.”
It is of utmost concern to people with diabetes that one year after seeking national funding, the University Hospitals’ Group still cannot fill positions in the outpatient adult diabetes clinic and therefore cannot provide specialist Type One diabetes education or offer insulin pump technology to prevent developing long-lasting complications such as amputation, kidney dialysis or vision loss.
The National Clinical Guidelines for adults with Type One diabetes states that DAFNE training for people with diabetes reduces the number of severe low and high blood sugars hospital admissions and reduces long-term complications.
The Mid-West Diabetes Group (MDG) warns Limerick looks set to be excluded from the DAFNE expansion as it cannot recruit the necessary staff to undertake the DAFNE educator training.
An insulin pump offers greater flexibility for people with diabetes as the user can adjust insulin more precisely than with injections and in much smaller doses.
MDG has urged the group to to request funding at a national level to secure a minimum of one full-time diabetes specialist pump nurse to initiate insulin pumps to those aged over 18 years.
There are 51 adults attending the clinic in UHL who use insulin pumps with only one member of staff trained in supporting them. There is a five-year waiting list to be seen by a consultant endocrinologist in the Limerick diabetes outpatient clinic.
663 people are waiting on their first appointment to UL hospital’s outpatient diabetes clinic, with over half of those on the list 24 months or longer.
“This situation is unacceptable and will lead to increases in the number of people with diabetes developing related complications such as foot ulcers, amputations, and kidney dialysis,” MDG warned.
Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne said almost 10,000 people in Clare have diabetes and are expected to travel to hospitals in the Midlands to access basic routine interventions and treatments. She expressed concern UHLG is the only group in the country that doesn’t provide specialist Type One diabetes education, in the form of the DAFNE programme.
“UHLG are in the process of recruiting the three dietitian posts, the four diabetes specialist nursing posts, and the additional two consultant endocrinologist posts. The fact that 2021 will have come and gone with these essential, approved posts unfilled is very telling of how ineffective recruitment in the HSE is.
“These vacant posts have aggravated an already severe backlog with 663 people waiting their initial appointment to an outpatient diabetes clinic. 336 of this total have been waiting between two to six years. This delay in treatment is of grave concern as it puts these people at a much higher risk of developing debilitating and costly complications.”
For more information about the protest visit Midwest Diabetes Advocacy group and #AccessToCare campaign visit: https://www.crazyaboutdiabetes.com/midwestdiabetes

by Dan Danaher

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