The paediatric endocrinology service in Cork University Hospital, which caters for children with diabetes, is overstretched and under-resourced, according to a Cork GP.
Dr John Sheehan said that the service, the only children’s diabetes clinic in the HSE South, is struggling to deal with demand.
Between 45 and 52 children are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in the HSE South every year, according to figures obtained by councillor Deirdre Forde.
Figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) revealed that 229 children were awaiting paediatric endocrinology services in CUH as of February. More than 30 of these children have been waiting for more than a year, with more than 800 waiting on these services nationally.
Dr Sheehan told The Echo that this lack of resources is a cause for concern.
“I know parents are travelling from Kerry to Cork now so their children can attend the paediatric endocrinology service here in CUH,” he said. “But that service here in Cork is very stretched and has had to try to find cover for a vacant paediatric endocrinologist position recently.
“There is a shortage of paediatric endocrinologists and there are difficulties in recruiting people to the field. With people coming from far and wide to Cork, it needs a lot more resources to deal with this demand.”
The Cork branch of Diabetes Ireland recently told The Echo that parents in Cork were reporting an increase in waiting times after a paediatric expert resigned from CUH last year.
While locum cover was found, the charity said the recruitment process to find a full replacement takes around two years which is far too long. Around 400 children with Type 1 diabetes attend CUH regularly.