HUNDREDS of Limerick children are being put at risk of developing long-term serious health problems, including heart conditions and blindness because two vital hospital posts have not been filled almost six months after interviews were held.
Children with Type 1 diabetes are not getting access to insulin pump therapy locally because the HSE has not filled a shared specialist pediatrics diabetes nursing post and dietetic post at Limerick Regional and UCH Galway, despite availability of funding.
It was announced last November that the posts were being advertised.
Dr Anna Clarke, Health Promotion and Research Officer with Diabetes Ireland said that roughly 300 children need the services as part of the promised new approach to tackle diabetes.
“Children in Limerick are being penalised. Without the proper education and support for them and their parents, they are ending up in the emergency department and are hospitalised far more often,” Dr Clarke told the Limerick Post.
She pointed out that without these posts to help children and parents manage the condition, poor control of diabetes in childhood and later detection mean that there can be serious complications in adult life.
“The most common complications are cardio-vascular but there can also be complications such as blindness and foot problems. A lot of the children who were being treated in Dublin have been sent back to Limerick on the basis that these posts would be filled. The hospital is overrun and staff are fantastic but they are stretched to the limit”.
Dr Clarke referred to a HSE explanation that the recruitment process is in train. “I want to know exactly what the hold-up is in getting these posts filled. Have individuals been selected and do those individuals have contracts? It’s not lack of funding so what is the problem? As it is, these are one full-time and one part-time post which we will be sharing with Galway so, even when they are filled, we will need more”.