Hospital post for diabetes nurse after Dail protest
A NURSE specialising in the care of children with diabetes is to be appointed to Letterkenny General Hospital following a protest by patients at Dail Eireann.
The parents and children from Donegal presented a petition with almost 20,000 signatures to Health Minister James Reilly yesterday, asking him to improve services for young people with the disease.
It followed a four-year campaign by the parents demanding a dedicated paediatric diabetes clinical nurse specialist for the 144 children with Type 1 diabetes currently attending Letterkenny general hospital.
Type 1 diabetes is a serious lifelong condition requiring children having to inject themselves several times a day and constant monitoring of blood sugar levels to adjust insulin dosage.
They asked that a regional specialist centre for paediatric diabetes care in the north-west region be established. At present there are only five centres of excellence nationally, all of which are located south of the Dublin-Limerick line.
Denise Gillespie, spokesperson for the Donegal Diabetes Ireland Parents Support Group, said: "Parents feel their children are entitled to fair and equal treatment regardless of their geographical location and demand the gold standard of care available in other parts of the country."
Almost 19,000 people in Ireland are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. There are 105 children in Co Donegal with diabetes attending the hospital.
It came as a conference heard yesterday that Ireland has axed more than €1.8bn from health budgets in four years. And the conference – 'Value for Money in Irish Health' at University College Cork – heard there was just a single health economist within the Irish healthcare sector.