Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke has called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to make lifesaving monitoring equipment available to all Type 1 Diabetes suffers.

Deputy O’Rourke made the comments after meeting with campaigners outside the Dáil earlier today. The campaigners presented Deputy O’Rourke with a petition with 19,005 signatures on the issue after Minister Harris refused to engage with them.

Deputy O’Rourke said, “There are currently 20,000 adults suffering from Type 1 Diabetes in Ireland. Those suffering with Type 1 Diabetes have to monitor their blood glucose levels on a regular basis and currently need to perform invasive finger-prick blood testing up to 10 times a day. This process comes with a significant cost to Type 1 Diabetes suffers.

“A new device called the FreeStyle Libre always Type 1 Diabetes suffers to carry out easier and more effective testing. However astonishingly, this device is not available under the Long-Term Illness Scheme. This does not make sense when you consider Type 1 Diabetes is something which has a lifelong impact. I’ve raised this issue on a number of occasions with Minister Harris and have called on him to take action. Unfortunately he is yet to resolve this problem.

“The Programme for Government committed to improving the provision of health care services for all, including access to services and reductions in the cost of medicines for those with long-term illnesses. Accordingly we need to see action on this, FreeStyle Libre must be made available under the Long-Term Illness Scheme.

“It’s deeply disappointing that Minister Harris refused to collect the petition from campaigners outside Leinster House today. However I have collected the petition and I will present it to Minister Harris. This is an issue that he cannot be allowed to ignore,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.