'She didn't really have a Christmas': Cork mum says lack of GP appointments is affecting daughter

Sharon Piper, who runs Sharon Piper’s Merry Go Round Events, said her eight-year-old daughter Libby Marah had to miss out on Christmas due to the severe respiratory issues brought on by asthma.
'She didn't really have a Christmas': Cork mum says lack of GP appointments is affecting daughter

Sharon Piper with her eight-year-old daughter Libby Marah. Sharon has found the medication shortage difficult since being diagnosed with pneumonia. She has also struggled with accessing GP appointments for her daughter Libby whose asthma has been aggravated by a chest infection

A CORK businesswoman told of how medication shortages and difficulty accessing GP appointments have created the perfect storm for her and her medically vulnerable daughter.

Sharon Piper, who runs Sharon Piper’s Merry Go Round Events, said her eight-year-old daughter Libby Marah had to miss out on Christmas due to the severe respiratory issues brought on by asthma. Sharon herself is also currently battling pneumonia.

The Glanmire woman said that booking ongoing doctor’s appointments has been extremely challenging in the current climate.

Sharon added that they have experienced long delays with prescriptions, but admits that the shortage of medication - particularly with over the counter medication - has become the predominant concern.

It comes as more than 200 medicinal products remain out of stock in Ireland. This has ramped up pressure for pharmacists across the country who are struggling to source alternatives.

Medicines affected by shortages target a range of health conditions, including respiratory and bacterial infections, strep throat, pneumonia, pain relief and blood pressure.

There are also extreme shortages in over-the-counter cough syrups for children and adults.

Other out of stock medication include sprays for sore throats, dissolvable paracetamol powder, and soluble aspirin.

“It’s hard when you have a child in the morning who’s telling you that they found it hard to breathe the night before,” Sharon said.

“We are awake most of the night because of Libby’s problems breathing. We have had all our vaccinations and are doing everything we are supposed to be doing but whatever is going around is stronger than Covid.

Libby Marah, who was diagnosed with asthma, with her mum Sharon Piper. Sharon, who is suffering from pneumonia said the current medication shortage and difficulty accessing GP appointments has been stressful for the pair
Libby Marah, who was diagnosed with asthma, with her mum Sharon Piper. Sharon, who is suffering from pneumonia said the current medication shortage and difficulty accessing GP appointments has been stressful for the pair

“We are dealing with antibiotics and steroids but still don’t feel any better. Libby missed out on so much in December that she didn’t really have a Christmas.”

The sound of Libby’s nebuliser has become mere background noise in the family home.

“Last February Libby got Covid which attacked her whole chest. This year she didn’t have Covid. However, she did get a chest infection which really affected her.

“Our old dog Roxy was like a nurse sitting next to her whenever she was using the nebulizer. The new dog Willow runs a mile when she hears it because she just isn’t used to it. However, it’s something she has been using since she was three.”

She listed the realities for people struggling to find alternative solutions.

“Not only are you worried about getting sick. You are also worrying about whether the medication will be there if that happens. It’s not like before when you could just book a doctor’s appointment or go out to buy medication from over the counter. There was a time when doctors were available to travel to your house but that’s all changed now.”

Sharon expressed concern about the number of people she feels are trivialising the situation.

“A woman in the chemist was chatting to pharmacists about how everyone was ‘getting carried away’ and even women were suffering from a dose of the man flu. It made me mad because this is such a serious situation for so many people. It can be frustrating when you hear the conspiracies out there.”

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