Parents of children with diabetes have welcomed news that a paediatric diabetes clinical nurse specialist is to be appointed in Letterkenny.
On Tuesday, children with type 1 diabetes and their parents made the long journey by bus to Dáil Éireann to protest at the gates of Leinster House and to present a petition of almost 20,000 signatures to Minister for Health Dr James Reilly.
Following a brief protest outside the gates of the Dáil, the 26 children presented the petition to the minister’s private secretary.
A delegation of parents from the Donegal Diabetes Parents Support Group, along with members of the Donegal branch of Diabetes Ireland, were accompanied by Kieran O Leary,CEO Diabetes Ireland and Professor Hilary Hoey, Chairperson of Diabetes Ireland.
The group met with Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly, Deputies Padraig McLaughlin and Thomas Pringle and a delegation from the Department of Health, together with senior HSE officials.
The move 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 for diabetes care.
Spokesperson Denise Gillespie of the Donegal Diabetes Ireland Parents Support Group said, “We are absolutely delighted with Minister Reilly’s announcement of the appointment of a paediatric diabetes clinical nurse specialist in the coming weeks and look forward to further discussion with Mr Bill Maher on the development of paediatric diabetes services.
“Type 1 diabetes is a serious lifelong condition requiring children having to inject themselves several times a day and constant monitoring of blood sugars levels to adjust insulin dosage. This is very traumatic for the children to deal with and is very worrying for their parents,” Ms Gillespie added.
Thomas Pringle TD, who attended the meeting said it’s “great news for the parents”.
Aoife McFadden of Bunbeg has a son and a duagher, ages 7 and 12, who have type 1 diabetes.
She also welcomed the news, saying it would make “a huge difference” in her children’s lives.
“When we had the specialist nurse, the support was great and to have lost that was terrible. It was very worrying and traumatic. I didn’t really thell them the nurse was gone because I didn’t think they could deal with it.
“Having a dedicated specialist paediatric nurse for diabetes will make a huge difference to the children.
“It will also affect the whole of Donegal because nearly every family has someone with diabetes.
The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the demands of the parents for a dedicated paediatric diabetes clinical nurse specialist in Letterkenny General Hospital and we are delighted to announce that Dr James Reilly and Mr Bill Maher CEO North West Hospital Group announced that this position has been sanctioned and will be filled in the coming weeks.
The meeting also went on to explore the potential of locating a regional specialist centre for paediatric diabetes care in the North West region. Currently there are only 5 centres of excellence nationally, all of which are located south of the Dublin- Limerick line.
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. This issue received favourable response Spokesperson Denise Gillespie of the Donegal Diabetes Ireland Parents Support Group said, “We are absolutely delighted with Minister Reilly’s announcement for the appointment of the Paediatric Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialists in the coming weeks and look forward to further discussion with Mr Bill Maher on the development of paediatric diabetes services”.
The Donegal parent support group wish to thank the people of Donegal, the TD’s and the media for their massive support over the past few weeks during the recent petition campaign.
and extensive debate and further meetings will take place in the coming weeks to explore how to further develop paediatric diabetes services in the North West.