Construction to begin on new diabetes unit in Sligo
Speaking in the Dáil last week, Sligo Leitrim TD, Martin Kenny raised the matter of inadequate facilities for diabetes patients at Sligo University Hospital.
Deputy Kenny said: “I will paint a picture of the situation for the Minister of State. If an adult or a child in Sligo, Leitrim, South Donegal or West Cavan is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he or she is sent for an appointment and an assessment to a unit located in a two-room Portakabin in a yard at the back of Sligo University Hospital.
“They walk through what is literally a building site as a new mental health services unit is being built in the area. The people who work in that small Portakabin have to keep the windows closed because of the dust. The Minister of State can see the picture.
“A family arrives at that Portakabin with a child who has been diagnosed with diabetes and two other people may be waiting to be seen in that small room half the size of the area of the floor of this House. They get an assessment done on the level of insulin or whatever the child needs, they make further appointments, and each time they come back to that unit.
“The HSE has an application in for funding the building of a new unit for the past four to five years but nothing has happened.
“There is also the serious matter of people who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes who need an insulin pump, which is a marvellous advance in treatment. I spoke to a man a number of months ago who was waiting to be fitted with an insulin pump.
"He knew it had been ordered. In fact, it had been purchased and was sitting on a shelf in that unit but he could not get it fitted because he needed to be trained on how to use it. The specialist nurse who provides the training had been seconded to another part of the hospital and was not available to give him the training.
“There are two issues involved. One is the facility, the cramped and unsuitable unit, and the staffing of it.
Will the Minister of State advise also regarding progress on the building of a new diabetes unit at Sligo University Hospital?"
In response, Deputy Catherine Byrne, on behalf of the health minister told Deputy Kenny that tender documents for the new diabetic day unit at Sligo have been finalised and are ready to be issued to contractors and that it is intended that construction will begin this year and be completed in 2020.