There are 381 people in the south-east who have been waiting up to two years to see a consultant in diabetes.
In response to parliamentary questions from Fianna Fáil’s Mary Butler, minister for health Simon Harris said there are 74 diabetics waiting 9-12 months, 103 waiting up to six months to see a consultant, 53 waiting 6-9 months and 90 waiting up to three months.
Another 20 have been waiting 18 months to see an endocrinologist.
Diabetes Ireland has said such waiting lists are not limited to the south-east and that the department must make a solid financial commitment to managing diabetes.
“We are spending €1.3bn on diabetes each year, €800m of that is being spent on dealing with the complications of diabetes. If some of that annual spend was re- directed for example towards funding the paediatric diabetes strategy, huge financial savings from preventing complications would be accrued.
“We are asking for a move from a reactive style of care to a preventative model of care as outlined in the programme for government,” said a spokeswoman.
According to the Department of Health, consultants in the south-east are treating patients with the most urgent need.
“The outpatient waiting list for endocrinology is running at approximately two years, dependent on the referral and the information supplied, for the consultant to triage the priority of the appointment,” Ms Butler was told.
Liz Murphy, a diabetes services advocate in the south-east, has been campaigning to improve diabetes services at Waterford University Hospital.
“Diabetic services are being ignored here. At present there are approximately 300/400 type 1 diabetics attending University Hospital Waterford, but all are unable to access insulin pumps here in Waterford, these pumps are available throughout hospitals in Ireland,” she said.
Liz Murphy and a number of representatives from Diabetes Ireland attended the Dáil recently to outline to TDs the challenges faced by patients in the south-east and elsewhere.
The Department of Health has said that the “permanent post of consultant physician in acute medicine / endocrinology in the south-east was advertised”.
A temporary consultant is in place for six months.
Diabetes Ireland say consultant paediatric endocrinologist posts need to be filled in Limerick and Galway by year’s end.
They said over 200 children in the south-east also urgently need access to a consultant.
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