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Councillor Murphy seeks improvements in diabetes treatment

COUNCILLOR Cillian Murphy has requested actions to provide insulin pump therapy and Type One Diabetes Self-Management Education for  Clare adults with Type One diabetes.

Speaking at a HSE West Forum meeting on Tuesday, Councillor Murphy asked the HSE if it could confirm whether diabetes dietitians and diabetes specialist nurses posts have been included by the UL Hospitals’ Group in their 2021 Budget Estimates.

If this is the case, he wondered when would the public be informed when these vital posts were approved.

UL Hospitals’ Group chief executive officer, Colette Cowan confirmed there is only one whole-time equivalent (WTE) consultant endocrinologist in UL Hospitals’ Group working with adult diabetic patients and noted a second consultant endocrinologist is due to commence in October 2020.

The adult diabetes service is supported by a dedicated team of clinical nurse specialists (CNS) and staff nurses. Diabetic nurse support is available in St Johns, Ennis and University Maternity Hospital Limerick.

In addition there are currently two diabetic clinical nurse specialist posts in the region, one in University Hospital Limerick and one in Ennis. One of these nursing posts has a remit to Nenagh Hospital. There are also three diabetic staff nurse positions within the diabetes unit.

Currently, the service is unable to commence adult patients on insulin pumps due service demands. However, Professor Cowan outlined the group accepts patients established on pumps from elsewhere and these patients are managed under the care of the consultant endocrinologist. The largest group of these patients are those who have transferred from the Paediatric Diabetes Service in UHL.

“All of our insulin pump patients are seen in UHL. There is a specialist dietitian working with our paediatric diabetes patients.

“However, there is currently no specialist dietitian in post for adults with Type 1 Diabetes. Patients are seen by a ward dietitian as inpatients but there is no specialist care or outpatient appointments for diabetes patients in UHL.

“We have identified this as a significant gap in our service and are committed to securing additional specialist posts nursing and dietitian to deliver an insulin pump service.

Developing our diabetes services is a core focus for UL Hospitals’ Group and we are committed to improving the service for our patients, to that end we will be submitting a bid to develop this service and it will form part of our 2021 estimates process,” she outlined.

Chief Operations Officer, Noreen Spillane admitted the biggest issue facing the group was the lack of consultants overseeing the diabetes service.

Ms Spillane told the meeting there is only one whole-time equivalent (WTE) consultant endocrinologist in UL Hospitals’ Group working with adult diabetic patients.

Howewer, she confirmed a second consultant endocrinologist is due to commence in October 2020, while the recruitment of a third consultant has gone for approval.

Meanwhile, Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne recently asked Health Minister Stephen Donnelly when he expects the vacant roles within the diabetes services in the UL Hospitals’ Group to be filled to address the backlog in appointments and care for diabetes suffers in the region.

Minister Donnelly said he has asked the HSE to reply to Deputy Wynne directly as soon as possible.

 

Dan Danaher

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