independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Questions remain over footcare post

DIABETES ACTION GROUP CRITICAL OF HSE

■ Sligo General Hospital, where a promised footcare post has yet to be filled.

A PROMISED footcare post for Sligo General Hospital to combat the shocking increase in diabetesrelated ulcers and amputations will not now be filled, it has been claimed.

The podiatry post has got the chop because of a HSE recruitment embargo, according to Diabetes Action.

However, the HSE says the post is "being considered".

But the diabetes advocacy group has denounced the HSE's 'progress' on diabetes services, claiming:

● Needless diabetes related amputations and sight loss continue to occur.

● €5m worth of foot and eye screening programmes are halted.

● Information and essential support care are stalled.

In response to a query from The Sligo Champion, the HSE stated: "The Clinical Programme post, which includes the podiatry post for Sligo Regional Hospital, is being considered as part of the 2013 Service Planning process."

Meanwhile, new HSE statistics show there were 781 diabetes related lower limb amputations in Ireland during 2010 and 2011, a 20% increase on the previous two year period.

In Sligo there was nearly a 100% in diabetes amputations (5 in 2010, to 9 in 2011).

And 20 people from Sligo underwent or were hospitalised with a diabetes foot-ulcer.

Diabetes is now the biggest single cause of amputation, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.

Dr. Anna Clarke, Diabetes Ireland, says the government's policy on diabetes and chronic illness is based on integrated services.

"None of the elements for integrated diabetes services have been delivered.

"The diabetes patient register for instance, the central piece of information infrastructure for integrated services, hasn't been progressed."

Dr. Clarke described the HSE's much publicised plans to recruit 17 diabetes nurse specialists to support integrated care, mainly to focus on primary care, as 'double edged'.

"Most nurses applying for these posts will come from the hospital system.

"Because of recruitment embargoes they won't be replaced when they leave," she said.

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