An East Cork mother is seeking concrete assurances from the HSE that tackle a shortage of Paediatric Consultants at Cork University Hospital. Tina Coffey from Midleton was among a number of parents across Cork and Kerry, to mount a protest at the Regional Hospital on Monday, raising awareness at the lack of staff to treat children with type 1 diabetes.
The mother of three says children like her 15 year old son with the condition are not receiving optimal care because a lack of commitment and urgency by the Department of Health and the HSE and has warned that the health of hundreds of children across Cork and Kerry will remain at risk if a permanent solution is not found. Ms Coffey said the quality of service at CUH has dropped in the past number of years at due to the loss of staff. “Diabetes is a complex condition with so many things that could happen, such as kidney failure and eyesight problems. You want the best for your child. It’s a horrible illness to be given and now for the services not to be there for them is very upsetting” said MS Coffey.
Last year a locum Consultant took up a new position, leaving just one full time Endocrinologist to deal with over 400 young patients. International standards recommend one Consultant for every 150 children, and that each child with type 1 diabetes be seen at least every three to four months, with children currently waiting up to nine months. 130 child appointments have already been cancelled at CUH until further notice. When a child transitions from the paediatric service to the adult service, at 16, it could take up to two years before they see a specialist.
Speaking with The East Cork Journal Ms Coffey said failure to act immediately will be to the detriment of our children, both today and in the future. “The HSE will end up spending more on inpatient treatment and long term complications. Our children deserve better” said Ms Coffey. Following contact from The East Cork Journal the South, South West Hospital Group, who represent CUH say a fulltime locum Paediatric Endocrinologist is to take up a position at the hospital this June to assist overstretched staff. However, Ms Coffey fears the latest announcement is just a “sticky plaster solution” following the parent’s recent media campaign. “We need a more permanent solution, not sticky plasters” she said.