Diabetes Ireland today warmly welcomed the publication of the Model of Care for Children & Young People with Type 1 Diabetes by Minister for Health, Mr Leo Varadkar TD.
The document essentially sets out a blueprint for the development of a paediatric Type 1 diabetes service that puts children and their family at the centre of their care plan which is exactly where they should be.
The proposed model of care includes the setting up of Integrated Practice Units, on a regional basis, with a centre of excellence and a number of outreach centres.
This means that children can be seen by their diabetes team relatively close to where they live, which is a huge plus for many families in rural Ireland who currently travel to Dublin and Cork for their care. This is a huge issue for all parents.
At present, many families do not receive structured education at diagnosis, nor do they receive instant access to technologies such as insulin pumps which are proven to provide better outcomes in the longer term as it is associated with a lower HbA1c.
Professor Hilary Hoey, Chairperson, Diabetes Ireland and Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist, said “in fairness to the HSE insulin pumps are now available to all children under 12 years but in many instances, due to staff shortages there is a long waiting list for the intensive training required prior to receiving a pump and the ongoing support required in the first 3 months of using a pump. For similar reasons, structured education programmes for all children with diabetes and their families, which have been developed, are not uniformly delivered nationwide. As a first step, I would therefore very much like to see extra staff resources provided throughout the country to address these two very important issues”.
The document sets out the national staffing level deficits required for the IPUs and as far as we are aware all current paediatric diabetes teams, some of which are significantly under resourced, will need extra resources to provide the proposed service.
“Diabetes Ireland is calling on the various HSE regional managers to prioritise implementation of the IPU’s and provide the necessary resources (financial and human) as a matter of urgency. We will of course be engaging with the HSE to deliver this, at a local and national level” added Professor Hoey
Diabetes Ireland also welcomed the inclusion in the document of the need to address support for children with Type 1 diabetes during school hours. Ireland is behind the UK and Northern Ireland in the provision of supports for school staff to help the children by overseeing the measurement of blood glucose monitoring and insulin administration during school hours. This is another huge issue for parents every day.
“Overall, today is a good day for the paediatric Type 1 diabetes community. This model of care provides a strong platform on which to build a high quality service, with equity and local access and support for all children with Type 1 diabetes, regardless of where they live. We now need to see implementation of the care model by the HSE as soon as possible” concluded Professor Hoey.