Donegal Brian Ó Domhnaill has received confirmation from the Minister of State at the Department of Health Roisin Shorthall that there are no plans to remove or downgrade the existing Paediatric Diabetic Service at Letterkenny General Hospital.
Senator O Domhnaill raised the issue in the Seanad following a meeting with the parents of children with diabetes in Donegal on Sunday. The meeting was also attended Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Charlie McConalogue TD, Cllr Ciarán Brogan, Cllr Paul Canning and Cllr Victor Fisher.
Senator Ó Domhnaill said; “Minister Shorthall confirmed to me during the debate that there are two clinical nurse specialists at Letterkenny General Hospital and that there are specialist nurses who work with the adult and paediatric diabetic service. The Minister also confirmed that a Consultant Endocrinologist is scheduled to take up appointment in January 2012. This is a very welcome development.
“I had requested the Minister during the course of the debate to provide funding for the appointment of a dedicated paediatric clinical nurse specialist but unfortunately no formal commitment on funding for this post was given.
“It is estimated that there 3000 to 4000 children and young adults under 16 years of age with diabetes in this country. The majority of patients have type 1 diabetes but unfortunately there is an increasing number of young patients developing type 2 diabetes. The incidence of type 1 diabetes is also increasing by about 2% to 3% per year and experts anticipate that over the next ten years the incidence is also increasing by about 2% to 3% per year and experts indicate that over the next ten to fifteen years the incidence of type 1 diabetes will double.
“Type 1 diabetes is a particularly complex condition in children and young adults and so it is recommended that their care be delivered in a multidisciplinary setting with access to a consultant paediatric endocrinologist, paediatric diabetes specialist nurse, paediatric specialist dietician psychologist and social worker. Because of the complexity of the condition and the significant dangers of hypoglycaemia there can be a clinical advantage in having continuous insulin infusion therapy for children and young adults with type 1 diabetes.
“There are 160 children with diabetes in Donegal so the retention and enhancement of services at LGH is so important. Today’s news from the Minister represents real progress.
“I firmly believe that funding must be made available for the appointment of a dedicated nurse specialist. This will remain a priority for me in the weeks ahead.”