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Laois TD and Councillors call for restoration of adult diabetic services in Portlaoise Hospital

Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise
Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise

A Laois TD and County Councillors have called on the HSE to restore adult diabetic services in Portlaoise Hospital.

At Monday’s meeting of Laois County Council, Cllr Caroline Dwane-Stanley put down a motion calling for the role of senior dietitian for the Adult Diabetic Clinic at Portlaoise hospital to be filled.

She received support from Cllr Aisling Moran and Willie Aird on this matter.

Without this position, those who require care as children are unable to receive it in Portlaoise when they become adults.

This means that they are being forced to travel outside of Laois in order to avail of it.

The matter has since been raised in the Dail by Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley.

He said: “Currently, Portlaoise Hospital 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.

“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.

“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.

“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.’’

Minister Rabbitte replied: “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.”

Commenting afterwards Deputy Stanley said: “While I welcome provision been 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.”

SEE ALSO – ‘An absolute and utter disgrace’ – Outrage as Laois County Council hand back €600,000 in unspent housing improvement grants

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.