The Donegal Branch of Diabetes Ireland met Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD on Monday this week during his visit to Letterkenny. The delegation of Gerard Gallagher, Caroline Baird and Paul Gillespie met with the minister to seek additional staffing resources for adult diabetes services in Letterkenny University Hospital. Currently, there are 666 adults with Type 1 diabetes and 4,353 adults with Type 2 diabetes attending Letterkenny Hospital.
Paul Gillespie, Spokesperson for the Donegal Branch of Diabetes Ireland described the meeting as very positive with the Minister acknowledging that current waiting times to see the Consultant Endocrinologist of 10 months for a first appointment and 20 months for a review appointment being unacceptable.
Diabetes Ireland is looking for a further Consultant Endocrinologist with dietetic and nursing support to deal with the increasing waiting times and provide regular appointments and support to the diabetes community in Donegal.
“Every adult with diabetes should be seen 3 times per annum. For patients, that is not a big ask. Due to inadequate staffing levels at the moment, only 20 of the 666 adults with Type 1 diabetes attending Letterkenny Hospital have access to insulin pump technology which is recognised as the best treatment available for managing Type 1 diabetes effectively. A second diabetes team would be able to provide access to this treatment” added Paul.
The Minister informed the Donegal branch that radical changes for future diabetes care nationally were on the way and that he would look into the current staffing levels for diabetes care in Letterkenny Hospital and would meet with the Donegal Branch Diabetes Ireland again in the New Year.
The delegation also highlighted that following increased staffing resources in paediatric diabetes services in Letterkenny Hospital in 2014, there has being a marked improvement of care for children with type 1 diabetes in Donegal. However, there was still additional staffing requirements needed there to match the national model of care promoted by the HSE.
Paul said “our children currently now receive diabetes reviews every 3 months, which has proved vital in maintaining ongoing good control for optimum health and wellbeing, but we are very concerned for 11 of these children who will transition to adult diabetes services care in 2017 where the recall waiting list is 21 months and not the required 4 months visits. Reduced reviews could seriously hinder their future management and quality of life”.
Paul concluded “overall we were happy with the Minister’s response and we look forward to seeing some developments to improve staffing levels for diabetes care in Letterkenny Hospital in 2017.