Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Primary Care John Brassil has called for the establishment of a National Diabetes Registry. The lack of a registry means the HSE is unable to estimate the prevalence of diabetes in the country.

“I recently submitted a Parliamentary Question seeking to establish the estimated incidence of Type 1 diabetes here and I was astonished to find out that the HSE was unable to answer the question and instead based its estimate on prevalence here by assuming the same incidence as Scotland”, said Deputy Brassil.

“It is a remarkable admission especially given that the HSE admits that diabetes is an increasingly common and costly chronic disease. Diabetes affects people from all walks of life and is now regarded as an epidemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“In any case the HSE’s guestimate is that there are just over a quarter of a million people with diabetes with almost 27,000 having Type 1.

“Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks and stroke. It is also a big factor in lower limb amputations, of which there were 511 in Ireland in 2016. Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70 years, and the WHO estimates that diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2016.

“It is obvious that we need to up our game in relation to this disease. But if we are to do so we really need to know the extent of its prevalence here in our own country.”