Donegal Deputy Charlie McConalogue has claimed that children with diabetes living in Donegal are the victims of a severe injustice due the lack of services available to them in the region.
Speaking on a special debate on the matter in the Dáil this week, Deputy McConalogue said Donegal children are expected to regularly make an 8-hour round trip to attend one of 5 centres of excellence in the country all of which are below the Galway-Dublin line.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy said there is a clear need for Centre of Excellence for diabetes services in the North West. He also called on the Health Minister to immediately hire a full-time Paediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist in Letterkenny General Hospital.
Deputy McConalogue said, “Donegal and the entire North West region is missing out on key services for children with diabetes. They fact that we don’t have any Centre of Excellence in this region is having a severe impact on the treatment of children with diabetes and their families.
“Centres of Excellence play a key role in the provision of insulin pump therapy. Each has a consultant paediatric endocrinologist, paediatric diabetes nurses, clinical nutritionists and dietitians, and psychosocial support. A centre of excellence provides the full complement of supports for children with Type 1 diabetes and plays a pivotal role in helping the child and their families manage the condition effectively.
“Children in Donegal deserve the same level of support as children living below the Galway-Dublin line. We need a centre of excellence in the North West as a matter of urgency. I have called for this on several occasions in the Dáil, and a recent response I received from the HSE to a Parliamentary Question said that further centres may be developed if additional resources become available. Clearly this just needs the political will to become a reality.
“It’s estimated that there are between 3,000 and 4,000 children, adolescents and young adults living with diabetes in Ireland, virtually 100% of whom have Type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of Type 1 diabetes is on the rise and it’s typically diagnosed in childhood. It’s crucial that children get the appropriate specialised care from an early age to help them manage the illness.”
Deputy McConalogue also called for the appointment of a full time Paediatric Diabetic Clinical Nurse Specialist in Letterkenny to support families with children on increasingly complex insulin regimes and to help reduce the frequency of clinic appointments in Dublin. ~
“There are 145 children in Co. Donegal with Type 1 diabetes. A 2008 Diabetes Expert Advisory Report recommended that 1 dedicated Paediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist should exist for every 100 children with type 1 diabetes. Letterkenny General Hospital should have 1.45 nurses – but it has none,” the Donegal Deputy said.