Diabetes staff shortage in Crumlin

Eleven patients waiting to put on pump programme

Some patients are being supported by intensive conventional insulin therapy.

Some patients are being supported by intensive conventional insulin therapy.

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 01:00

The distress caused to children with diabetes and their families, by a suspension of the insulin pump-delivery service for new patients, is a regret, says Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

The hospital said it is because of the “unprecedented absence” of two key diabetes nurses. Replacements have been found but it takes up to six months to train them in pump start-up therapy.

Because of the delays, 11 patients who have received funding for pump therapy are waiting to be put on the programme, it said. These patients are being supported by intensive conventional insulin therapy.

Distress

An insulin pump is a small, computerised device programmed to deliver insulin into the fatty tissue under the skin. The pump is durable and lasts for years, but the insulin supply and certain pump components are changed every few days.

Crumlin says it has sought appropriate staffing for the service from the HSE since 2011. It is also in discussions with the Children’s Hospital Group over management of patients suffering delays.

Diabetes Ireland says insulin pump therapy is the best method of managing Type 1 diabetes. “Not having access to nurses and pump therapy is causing great distress to 600 families,” says Dr Anna Clarke of Diabetes Ireland.

“Nurses are crucial to helping families cope with diabetes and are not expensive.”