Parents bemoan the deterioration of services at OLCH

Parents bemoan the deterioration of services for children with diabetes in major Dublin National Centre

Increased demand for services, dwindling staff numbers and the HSE embargo has seen the suspension of insulin pump therapy- the best method of managing Type 1 diabetes – in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital (OLCH), Dublin.

The paediatric diabetes team has seen their staff numbers plummet from 3 experienced Paediatric Diabetes Nurses to 1 (funded by the Parents Support Group). The hospitals response is the short time allocation of a newly qualified nurse. Initiation of Pump therapy at the Hospital has been suspended which jeopardizes the implementation of the Health Service Executive Type 1 diabetes Model of Care for Under 5’s nationally as children from as far away as Donegal come to OLCH for this service.

The Mulready family planned their year so that their son Darragh could get his pump on July 22nd and be able to self-manage his diabetes for returning to school in September. His mother Trish says “Darragh was devastated that his pump is sitting in a press gathering dust instead of been fitted to him making his life that bit more normal and helping keep his blood glucose levels a lot more stable”. 

Dr Stephen O’Riordan, Clinical Lead in Paediatric Diabetes stated “the lack of appropriate Diabetes Nurse Specialists in Crumlin is a health crisis. Crumlin has been the mainstay of pump therapy nationally for decades. If these centres are not adequately staffed, then any other National initiatives will not succeed. I know that appropriate staffing for the Crumlin Diabetes Team is our number 1 priority at a National level for the 2015 HSE National Service Plan. We have been pushing this since 2011 based on reinvestment of savings from the National Pump Tender”.

Donegal parents recently fought hard to get their own paediatric diabetes nurse for Letterkenny Hospital so that their children could have access to insulin pump therapy. The local children and families who were to attend OLCH for training on the use of the insulin pump have now had that pulled from them. The McFadden family whose son Joey aged 5 is waiting to be started on a pump in OLCH said “just as one door opens, the other door is slammed in our face. We have waited so long and having to travel to Dublin to be just told this is not going to happen, is outrageous and thoughtless”.

Dr Anna Clarke, Diabetes Ireland stated that “Not having access to nurses and pump therapy is causing great distress to the 600 families attending OLCH who are living 24 hours a day with Type 1 diabetes. Nurses are crucial to helping families cope with diabetes and in reality are not expensive. As a result of not having diabetes nurses in OLCH, you have increased workload on higher paid staff such as consultants and more costs on treating issues that would be recognised earlier / prevented by nurses.”