The meeting was called to demand that the HSE appoint a dedicated Paediatric Diabetes clinical Nurse Specialist in Letterkenny General Hospital.
An estimated 300 people along local politicians and T.Ds were in attendance.
The meeting was hosted by the Donegal Branch of Diabetes Ireland and the main speakers were parents from the Diabetes Parents Support Group. They told their stories of the reality of living with a child with diabetes and the impact on family life.
The Parent Support Group outlined the main facts in relation to current service provision, recently highlighted in the media, and the reasons why so many of the parents are upset with the proposed change to the current level of service provision:
· That the post of Paediatrician with a special interest in Diabetes is vacant.
· Experienced Diabetes Paediatric nurse being moved to a shared post with the adult services.
· The new integrated Clinical Nurse Specialist post will be of no assistance to children as the post is for adult type 2 diabetes, it may in fact increase the workload of the hospital team due to better detection of adults with type 2 diabetes.
· There is no funding to develop paediatric diabetes services in the HSE North West Service Plan.
· The nearest 'Paediatric Diabetes Centre of excellence' is in Dublin.
· We parents who have lived with children with diabetes for several years have no intention of unduly worrying parents of children newly diagnosed, but unfortunately, as parents, we are acutely aware of the implications for the health and well being of our children, in the future if adequate care is not provided to control the blood sugars.
There was strong representation from the political field and all were thanked for their attendance and each promised to assist and work together to achieve the aim of the group.
Deputy Joe Mc Hugh stated that he would seek a further meeting with the minister for health James Reilly and the group and Deputies Pearse Doherty and Padraig McLaughlin have tabled a motion of interest to have the topic debated in the Dail. The main message from the parents is that Donegal children with type 1 diabetes are extremely disadvantaged as they do not have the minimum level of care provision as outlined by the HSE Diabetes Expert Advisory Group(2008) .
There is a great response to the petition supporting the call for a dedicated paediatric clinical nurse specialist and over 7,000 signatures have been collected in the first week, the petition will be taken to the Dail to be presented to the Minister for Health.