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Grainne Flynn, diabetes awareness activist.

Diabetes patients waiting up to seven years to be seen

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FIVE patients are waiting six to seven years for a first appointment at an outpatients diabetes clinic in the Mid-West, new official figures have revealed.

Figures provided by the UL Hospitals’ Group also show 101 patients are waiting four to five years, 28 patients are waiting five to six years, 58 patients are waiting up to six months while 72 patients are waiting six to 12 months for a first appointment.

Out of the total of 573 on the waiting list, 47 patients are waiting 12 to 18 months, 57 patients are waiting 18 to 24 months and 205 patients are waiting two to four years.

These figures were provided to Limerick Councillor Dan McSweeney in response to a question tabled at a recent HSE West Forum meeting.

In September 2020, the diabetes outpatient waiting list was at least six years with 663 people and 336 of those people were waiting two years or more for their first appointment.

While Ennis-based diabetes awareness activist Gráinne Flynn is glad to see progress on this number being reduced to 573, she stressed there are still over 339 people waiting between two and seven years for their appointment.

“So while the overall number has reduced by 90 people, those waiting for the longest are not getting any closer to their appointment date. This is not good enough. More needs to be done to address this.”

Councillor Mc Sweeney also asked for a time frame on when UHL will become a DAFNE accredited diabetes centre and the provision of the current total number of consultant endocrinologists, diabetes specialist dietitians, advanced nurse practitioners, clinical diabetes nurse specialists, staff nurses, and administrative support currently
in place in the Adult Outpatient Diabetes Clinic.

Colette Cowan, CEO UL Hospitals’ Group outlined the group has made progress recently in recruiting staff for its adult diabetic services.

A second consultant endocrinologist took up post on October 1,2020. In addition, two further consultant endocrinology posts have been approved for University Hospital Limerick.

These posts have been advertised and interviews have recently taken place.

In December 2020, UL Hospitals Group received funding to recruit three additional dietetic posts for the treatment of adult diabetes.

This funding was made available through the national clinical programme for diabetes.

These posts include two senior dieticians and one staff grade dietician, which have now been filled.

The Adult Diabetes Service is also supported by a dedicated team of Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) and staff nurses.

Four Diabetic CNS posts have been approved for University Hospital Limerick. Following recruitment campaigns, all four Clinical Nurse Specialists are now in place.

There are also three Diabetic Staff Nurses in post at University Hospital Limerick.

A Consultant Endocrinologist from UL Hospitals Group has been in contact with DAFNE UK to initiate the required staff training to become a DAFNE accredited centre.

“A proposal has been received and is currently being reviewed. It is not possible at this stage of the process to indicate when UL Hospitals Group will become a DAFNE accredited centre. Developing our diabetes services continues to be a core focus for UL Hospitals’ Group and we are committed to improving this service for our patients,” she said.

Ms Flynn of the Mid-West Diabetes Advocacy Group acknowledged there has been huge progress in diabetes services especially in recruiting additional specialist staff such as the consultant endocrinologists, the clinical nurse specialists and the dietitians.

“All of this now means that there are specialist staff who can receive training so that UHL can provide the DAFNE education programme to adults with insulin-dependent diabetes.

“The Midwest Diabetes Advocacy Group would like to know when this training will take place and when the first DAFNE programme can be delivered to patients.”

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