If the HSE wants to deliver high-quality care to people with diabetes, it needs to know how many people have the condition nationwide and where exactly they live, Diabetes Ireland has said.
The national diabetes charity attended a briefing at Leinster House on September 21, where it told members of the Oireachtas about the many issues facing people with diabetes, including poor access to services and new technologies, largely as a result of staffing shortages, and the need for a national diabetes registry.
Attendees heard from the parents of children with type 1 diabetes who highlighted the lack of mental health supports for families. They also spoke about their worries around the move from paediatric to adult services, which tend to have much longer waiting lists and more limited access to certain healthcare professionals.
Members of the Oireachtas also heard from Grainne Flynn who has had type 1 diabetes for 30 years. She highlighted the lack of access to diabetes education and diabetes technologies, which could greatly improve the lives of those affected.
Meanwhile, Valerie Humphries, who has type 2 diabetes, talked about the daily challenges faced by those affected, including stigma.
Healthcare professionals also highlighted the importance of having up-to-date data and called for the development of a national diabetes registry. Diabetes Ireland has been calling for the establishment of such a registry for many years now, noting that the information this would supply is necessary to improve care in Ireland and plan services appropriately.
The regular auditing of diabetes clinical services is also necessary to ensure that everyone impacted has access to similar standards of treatment irrespective of where they live.
“If the HSE wants to aspire to deliver high-quality diabetes care, it needs to know how many people live with diabetes in Ireland and where those people live. It also needs to regularly monitor the standard of clinical care being provided along with diabetes outcomes. Only then can it begin to effectively plan staffing resources, determine the cost of providing care and improve health outcomes for our community,” commented Diabetes Ireland’s research and advocacy manager, Dr Kate Gajewska.
Also speaking in Leinster House, Diabetes Ireland CEO, Kieran O’Leary, insisted that if care is to be improved, a diabetes taskforce needs to be established to develop a 10-year national diabetes strategy.
This is needed to provide leadership and direction “so that we can recruit the staff required and improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes and reduce the long-term costs to the health service of diabetes complications”.
Diabetes Ireland also took this opportunity to highlight a number of other issues facing people with diabetes, including:
-A call for the removal of the age restriction on the flash glucose monitoring system. Ireland is the only Western European country where this very well accepted glucose monitoring technology is not available for people with type 1 diabetes and others with clinical need
-The need to provide reimbursement of required medicines for women with gestational diabetes
-The need for extra staffing resources to allow all people who require care to be able to access appropriate services.
The briefing was organised by Fianna Fáil TD and chairperson of the Cross Parliamentary Group on Diabetes, Cormac Devlin. He noted that over the last 18 months, the Cross Parliamentary Group has heard from many healthcare professionals and diabetes advocates on issues facing diabetes services currently and what is required to improve them.
“The evidence shows that more frequent medical reviews reduce health costs by preventing acute and chronic complications and inpatient hospital admissions. We recently had a positive meeting with the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, on the need to prioritise the development and funding of future diabetes services and we look forward to hearing from him about this in the near future,” Mr Devlin said.