BREAKING: Fears mounting about future of midlands paediatric diabetes service

Fears are mounting that the paediatric diabetes service at Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar could close due to staff shortages.

This morning, the parents of the 145 young people from across the region who are being treated at the clinic received a letter from the head of the service, Professor Michael O'Grady, warning that for the second time in three years it is facing the risk of closure.

Urging parents to once again “use their collective voices to save your local diabetes service”, Prof O'Grady says that while clinics will continue for now, they will do so without a diabetes nurse or dietician.

In a statement, Deputy Sorca Clarke said that she was in “complete shock” when she learned that the service was once again at risk.

“Diabetes is a complex health condition that requires around the clock support, particularly for parents with children who have been newly diagnosed and are not entirely familiar with the different ways it can be effectively managed.

“Children should expect to have regular appointments and support once they receive a diagnosis.

“Children and their parents should not be forced to travel the length and breadth of the country to receive basic and necessary healthcare.

“The paediatric diabetic clinic in the regional hospital must be kept open and must be appropriately funded and staffed.

“Children should be able to receive the required care close to home and should not be put under unnecessary stress.

“The minister along with the department must now take the necessary measures to ensure that the clinic and the vital services which it offers are not forced to close its doors. This must be done without delay.

“The minister must address this crisis immediately and explain to the parents of the children, who are sick with worry, what plans he has in place to address the staffing crisis impacting the paediatric diabetes service. There is no time to waste.

“Parents and children of Westmeath and the midlands deserve better.”

The HSE has been asked for a comment.