Eight children with diabetes have been on a waiting list for up to two years to receive insulin pump therapy at the west’s biggest hospital. Others have been waiting from six months to a year.
This life changing therapy is identified as the primary treatment option for children with Type One diabetes and is provided for over fives at UHG.
Galway West TD Brian Walsh, who has been campaigning for paediatric diabetes services in the west for a number of years, said the reduction of waiting times for insulin pump therapy in Galway must be a priority this year.
He explained that children under five are referred to University Hospital Limerick (UHL ). A total of 157 patients are currently using this service and there is no waiting list.
Deputy Walsh outlined that substantial progress has been made on this diabetes treatment option in recent years.
“In 2012, we succeeded in securing funding for a localised service that saved families from having to travel to Dublin for insulin pump therapy,” he said. “That was a major step but it’s time to step up resources to ensure that targets are set and met in relation to waiting times for the treatment,” he added.
He claimed that only five or six new insulin pumps are supplied to children at UHG each year, resulting in significant competition for resources. Patients are prioritised in accordance with clinical needs.
At present, eight children have been waiting between one and two years for insulin pump therapy at the hospital while others have been waiting between six and 12 months.
“As is the case with so many conditions, early intervention is important and paediatric diabetes services at UHG have to be a priority. This is a specialist treatment, so the waiting lists aren’t huge but the waiting times are excessive,” said Deputy Walsh.
“I’ve highlighted this issue with the Minister for Health and I am assured by hospital management that the development of this service will be a priority in the context of its service plan for next year.”