PARENTS of diabetic children in Cork are reporting an increase in waiting times for child diabetes services after a paediatric expert resigned from Cork University Hospital earlier this year.
The Cork branch of Diabetes Ireland said there are serious shortcomings in the delivery of diabetes services in Irish hospitals and they are concerned at the loss of a paediatric expert in Cork.
Cork has been without a permanent paediatric endocrinologist for almost a year after a doctor resigned her post in February.
Diabetes Ireland said Cork University Hospital (CUH) has just one paediatric consultant dealing with endocrinology —the branch of medicine concerned with endocrine glands and hormones — at the moment. More than 150 children were awaiting these services in CUH in September 2018, while there are just over 700 on waiting lists across Ireland.
Around 400 children with Type 1 diabetes attend CUH regularly, according to Diabetes Ireland.
Charlotte Pearson of the charity’s Cork office said that the loss of the paediatric endocrinologist has resulted in some parents reporting longer wait times for their children trying to access appointments.
“There are serious shortcomings in the delivery of diabetes services in all Irish hospitals, there is a Consultant Endocrinologist deficit of 71% in adult diabetes services and we feel this is mirrored in the paediatric diabetes services.
“Children with Type 1 Diabetes should be seen every four months, which is what is recommended in the ISPAD guidelines.
“Many children attending CUH are only seen every five or six months,” she added.
She said that CUH does not just need a replacement, but three additional consultants, as per the HSE National Diabetes Paediatric Model Of Care.
A spokesperson from the South/South West Hospital Group said: “A Locum Paediatric Consultant who provides Endocrinology support has been in place since the resignation of the previous Paediatric Consultant.”
However, Ms Pearson said the process of finding a permanent replacement takes too long.
“CUH is the only paediatric diabetes centre in Cork, in fact, it is the regional centre for the HSE south area.”