by Alan Jacques
THE lack of services for people with Type 1 Diabetes at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) was highlighted during Leaders Questions in the Dáil last week.
Addressing Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Tipperary Independent TD Michael Lowry said that he had been contacted by diabetics across the Mid West regarding their concerns.
“In University Hospital Limerick the needs of paediatric Type 1 diabetics are being met by a specialist dietician. There is no specialist dietician in the hospital to attend to the needs of long-term or newly diagnosed adult Type 1 patients,” Deputy Lowry claimed.
“If they are hospitalised they can receive dietary advice and support from a ward dietician. There is no specialist care or outpatient appointments for adult diabetics in University Hospital Limerick.”
He said that this was not the quality of service you expect from a Centre of Excellence and described the fact that UHL do not provide pumps that deliver insulin subcutaneously 24-hours-a-day as “discriminatory and disgraceful”.
“These pumps offer diabetics the benefit of the latest technology. It is simpler and a much less invasive means of controlling their condition. These devices are efficient and effective and give the patient peace of mind and a release from regular injections.
“Last December, UHL received confirmation of funding to recruit three additional dietetic posts for the treatment of adult diabetes. Nine months later, these posts are still not filled.
“The HSE, in a typical bureaucratic flourish, tell us that the recruitment process for two of these posts is at an ‘advanced stage’, while the process for the third remains ongoing. This is cold comfort to patients,” he added.
In response to Deputy Lowry, the Tánaiste said that he cannot begin to understand the frustration and anger that people must feel if they are not able to access modern treatments like those available to patients in other regions.
From a Government perspective, he pointed out that funding had been allocated to UHL to hire the specialist staff that are needed.
“While there is a shortage of specialist staff worldwide, this is a reason for the difficulties in hiring staff, but it is not an excuse for the situation in UHL.
“I encourage anyone in the HSE and UHL involved in the recruitment process to expedite this process,” Minister Varadkar concluded.