By Joe Barrett
Local Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley has called for the appointment of a permanent full time Dietician for the Adult Diabetic Clinic at Portlaoise Hospital.
Speaking in the Dáil Brian Stanley said: “Currently it is blocked from providing full services and it cannot provide insulin pump services because there is no adult dietician in place for the adult clinic, which is required for it to function fully.
“There are hundreds of adults and children attending the Portlaoise clinic. I hear nothing but praise about the children’s clinic but, unfortunately, the adult facilities do not provide full services. There are also many teenagers caught in a position where they should be transferring to adult services but cannot do so. They have come of age but the service is not there so they cannot move on.’’
He said: “People are currently travelling to Dublin for insulin pump services and many are paying for a private service. Some of the people are on low incomes from work or a mixture of work and social welfare. It is putting huge financial pressure on families. I know we cannot have a service at every crossroads but we must regionalise services and ensure we have a strong range of services because where people can access them, they are more inclined to use them.’’
“This is really important and my understanding is the hospital management has made the case on no fewer than three occasions in the recent past to try to get an appointment to the post.”
Deputy Stanley said: “The families had a protest outside the hospital last Sunday week. That is how strongly they feel about this. They have conveyed to me in no uncertain terms that this must be sorted out. The hospital staff and management are on board with this request. Portlaoise hospital is making good strides and there is new investment going in, which is all to be welcomed’’.
“This piece is missing from the adult services for diabetes. If we can get this over the line it would be really good for the area, not just in Laois but the surrounding counties as well.’’
The Portlaoise based TD said: “We are talking about this one position. We are not talking about millions of euro. A relatively small amount of money is needed to facilitate the full service. I appeal to the Minister of State to put that in place.’’
In her reply to Deputy Stanley the Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and at the Department of Health Anne Rabbitte said: “Portlaoise Hospital has employed an advanced nurse practitioner in diabetes to support the diabetes service and has recently approved an additional 0.5 whole-time equivalent to meet the needs in the dietetic service.
“In reference to the dietetic service, a 0.5 of a whole-time equivalent has been approved. This Government is completely committed to improving services for all those living with chronic disease, including diabetes.’’
Deputy Stanley said: “While I welcome provision being made for a part time agency Dietician, what is really needed is a permanent full time Dietician for the Adult Insulin Clinic at Portlaoise hospital.”