Diabetic services - Health time bomb

A Health Service Executive report published in June 2009 estimated that as many as one in 20 people in Ireland suffer from diabetes, but half of those were not yet diagnosed. Recent predictions indicated that the prevalence of diabetes in Ireland would increase to 232,000 people by 2020.

This amounts to a health time bomb, because the disease is the leading cause of blindness, renal failure, nerve damage and the impairment of blood circulation. A minor cut in the foot can lead to an ulcer that can lead to gangrene and amputation.

Some 338 people had lower limb amputations in 2008. They cost the HSE €7.4 million, but the International Diabetes Federation contends that 90% of the amputations are avoidable.

Despite the prevalence of diabetes, Ireland has the lowest podiatry service for the disease in Europe. A podiatrist is a professional trained to identify and treat diabetics at risk of foot ulceration, but public podiatry services are only available in Cork and Dublin.

The plight of the two Kerry brothers – Dan and Dermot O’Connor – makes for horrific reading. Their story is a grim warning of the inadequacy of diabetic services and the health time bomb that we face.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

  • 1
  • 4
  • 15
  • 29
  • 38
  • 40
  • 31

Full Lotto draw results »