Insulin pump access limited

CHILDREN with diabetes in the West of Ireland have no access to vital insulin pumps which means parents must administer multiple injections every day.

There are at least 800 children in Mayo, Roscommon and Galway with type one diabetes which requires daily insulin injections, but just 12 insulin pumps are available for both children and adults.

Children in the West also have no access to a psychologist, as children in Dublin do, or, currently, a dietician as she is on maternity leave.

Parents said they are being discriminated against simply because of where they live.

Noreen Fahy, whose daughter Grace, 9, was diagnosed with diabetes at 4, said it is “frightening” to think there is a better service out there for her child but she cannot access it because there is not enough money in the HSE West to provide it.

Ms Fahy, from Galway, said: “I work in a dialysis unit and I see the long term complications from diabetes. No matter how good you are at giving regular injections, it is not as good as the pump which regulates the insulin and slowly releases it into the system. I am very fearful about the long-term effects that come with badly controlled insulin.”

Veronica Fitzgerald, also from Galway, has to attend her six-year-old son Declan’s school twice a day to administer insulin because he has no pump. Declan is the third generation of the family to have diabetes.

“I am a diabetic and my mother is too so I know all about the effects. I have to be on call all the time to give him insulin and it is a big tie. With the pump there are great benefits but there is a waiting list with hundreds of names on it.

“There is no back up at all really. Our dietician is on maternity leave and not being replaced. We really feel we are being discriminated against.”

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames said children with diabetes outside of Dublin are at a geographical disadvantage, and the knock-on effect was that Dublin services were inundated with referrals for children from all over the country.

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