Speaking in the lead-up to World Diabetes Day, which will take place this Sunday, November 14th, Sinn Féin TD for Clare, Violet-Anne Wynne, has pointed to the inequality experienced by people in the Midwest trying to access appropriate treatment.
Teachta Wynne said:
“I have been engaging with a local representative from Midwest Diabetes Advocacy for several months now, and have submitted many parliamentary questions to the Department of Health to investigate this blatant regional inequality.
“Almost 10,000 people in Clare have a diabetes diagnosis and are expected to travel to hospitals in the Midlands to access basic routine interventions and treatments.
“So if you are lucky enough to be based in Ennis, it is up to a three-hour round-trip, and if you are unlucky enough to be based in the more remote parts of West Clare, it actually isn’t feasible to travel this distance at all.
“University Hospital Limerick Group (UHLG) is the only hospital group in the country that does not provide specialist type 1 diabetes education, in the form of the DAFNE programme. DAFNE stands for Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating and is a tried and tested educational programme for adults and has been shown to greatly improve quality of life and health outcomes for diabetics.
“It is rolled out in every other hospital group in the state – apart from UHLG. It is about to be extended to even more hospital campuses, however, because UHLG has not recruited the staff with the relevant training and qualifications, it is likely to be left out of the national expansion of services. This means Clare folk and the rest of the Midwest will remain at a disadvantage.
“Some of these vacancies have been open since January of this year. UHLG are currently in the process of recruiting the three dietitian posts, the four diabetes specialist nursing posts, and the additional two consultant endocrinologist posts.
“The fact that 2021 will have come and gone with these essential, approved posts unfilled is very telling of how ineffective recruitment in the HSE is.
“In terms of waiting lists, these vacant posts have aggravated an already severe backlog with 663 people waiting their initial appointment to an outpatient diabetes clinic. 336 of this total have been waiting between two to six years.
“This delay in treatment is of grave concern as it puts these people at a much higher risk of developing debilitating and costly complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
“Midwest Diabetes Advocacy are organising a day of action on November 14th at UHL, and I am proud to support their campaign to attract the resources needed to give people in the Midwest with diabetes fair and equal access to life-changing interventions.”