Waterford (UHW), according to Waterford Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler.
“Having being contacted recently by a constituent Elizabeth Murphy who herself has Type 1 diabetes, the stark reality of diabetes sufferers in Waterford has become very clear,” she said.
“At present there are 300-400 Type 1 diabetes patients attending UHW, however all are unable to access Insulin Pumps in UHW, even though these pumps are available throughout hospitals in Ireland. Having questioned the Minister for Health Simon Harris on this issue I have been advised that if any diabetic patient attending UHW wishes to avail of these services it would be best for them to transfer to the following hospitals of Kilkenny, Wexford, Clonmel or Cork.”
She continued: “In relation to Type 2 diabetics the 2016 HSE service plan sanctioned 36 posts to support the Type 2 diabetes Cycle of Care Initiative. These posts are a mixture of community based Diabetes Nurse Specialists, Senior Dieticians, and Senior Podiatrists of which three of these posts were sanctioned to support the diabetes community in Waterford.”
Deputy Butler says she has been in contact with Diabetes Ireland and is “extremely concerned” that these posts will not be filled this year and that her constituents with diabetes will not get the care they deserve.
“In Waterford, there are almost 6,000 people with diabetes. I will be constantly keeping this issue to the fore until these posts are filled in Waterford,” she said.
Through a recent Parliamentary Question, Deputy Butler asked the Minister about the waiting time to see an endocrinologist for a person with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in UHW.
UHW General Manager Richard Dooley confirmed that the waiting list is approximately two years “dependent on the referral and the information supplied, for the consultant to triage the priority of the appointment”.
“The permanent post of Consultant Physician in Acute Medicine Endocrinology was advertised and candidate recommended for the post however he decided not to accept the post,” he said.
“Recently the hospital has put in place a temporary consultant for a period of six months to provide an opportunity to examine the service and to assess if the second post should be that of Consultant Physician Endocrinology.”
As of May 26th 2016, 321 patients are waiting 12 months are less, 45 patients are waiting 12-15 months; 26 patients 15-18 months; 20 patients 18-21 months; 34 patients 21-24 months; 62 patients 24-36 months; and two patients are waiting 36-48 months.
Local diabetic Liz Murphy, who raised the issues with Deputy Butler, says the waiting list of approximately two years is not acceptable.
“Are they not aware that Type 1 diabetes is a terminal illness if not treated?” she said.
“If you had cancer would you be asked to wait two years for the consultant to triage the patient?”
Ms Murphy has called for further information, including how the UHW waiting time compares with other hospitals.
“As a Type 1 diabetic I want to be provided with the best possible chance for me to ensure that my diabetes is kept under the best control and ensure that I do not have any further medical complications in the future be it kidney, eyes, feet or cardiac, which in itself would be a drain on the already overstretched HSE,” she said.
Ms Murphy initially raised concerns over diabetes services at UHW in an interview with The Munster Express two weeks ago.
Since her story was published, she has been inundated with messages of support from many local diabetics who have expressed similar concerns.
In particular, Ms Murphy expressed her frustration that diabetes patients at UHW cannot access insulin pumps or avail of DAFNE courses as they can at many other hospitals.