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Extensive delays for ‘under-resourced’ diabetes service in Ennis

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Face to face and virtual clinics are being held by UL Hospitals Group to address the extensive delays at Ennis Hospital’s diabetes services.

Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) referenced a response to a parliamentary question by Limerick City TD, Brian Leddin (GP) which queried what progress was made on the hiring of one endocrinologist, four specialist dieticians, one advanced nurse practitioner, one diabetes nurse specialist and two administrative support staff as part of the recommendations of the national survey of diabetes care delivery in acute hospitals 2018 in University Hospital Limerick.

The appointments are “in order to provide a structured education program and an insulin pump therapy service for adults with type 1 diabetes,” Murphy stated. He questioned if UL Hospitals Group had applied for the approval of these posts, the projected timeline for the appointments and the steps underway “to address the current situation of extensive delays sometimes in excess of 12 months, between review appointments in Limerick and the outreach Diabetes clinics in Ennis and Nenagh”.

“We have received approval for an additional Endocrinologist which will bring the total number of Consultant Endocrinologist across ULHG to 3. We have also received approval for an additional dedicated dietician for the diabetic service,” CEO of UL Hospitals Group, Colette Cowan confirmed.

Dr Melvin took up his post as a consultant endocrinologist in September and the recruitment process for the third post has begun with the CEO confident this dietician will be in place before the end of the year.

She added, “UL Hospitals Group, Medicine Directorate are very aware of the current long delays for review appointments and are working with the service to try and address these delays. We have to ensure we are complying with all COVID 19 recommendations to ensure the safety of patients and staff. This has had an impact on the numbers of patients that can be safely seen. We are conducting some face to face and virtual clinics”.

Praise for the hiring of additional posts was voiced by Cllr Murphy at a meeting of the Regional Health Forum West. “It is easy to be critical but it is nice to say well done. We’re a few people short of the desired structure to provide the proper programme.

It is the one service that has been under-resourced for many years,” Chief Operations Officer at UL Hospitals Group, Noreen Spillane admitted.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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