Launch of Diabetes Expert Advisory Group
Almost one in 20 people in Ireland are affected by Type 2 Diabetes mellitus - a chronic condition without a cure. There are two types of Diabetes mellitus: type 1 affects children, adolescents and young adults and Type 2 which affects adults in the main. The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes is rising rapidly, in large part due to the increasing obesity of the Irish population, young and old. One in 600 children is likely to develop Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition, with the increase in prevalence most notable in the under five age group.
The HSE Expert Advisory Group framework document, which charts how this public health challenge can be addressed, is being launched by the HSE. This launch is jointly organised with the Diabetes Federation of Ireland.
In 2005, the Institute of Public Health estimated that at least 141,063 adults in the Republic of Ireland (4.7%) had diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed) and predicted this would rise to at least 193,944 or 5.6% of the population by 2015 - a 37% increase. Their report points out that it is estimated over 10% of governmental healthcare spending is diabetes related, and the costs of caring for the growing number of people with diabetes will increase by up to 25% by 2040.
The EAG emphasises that real savings can be achieved in healthcare costs by preventing the complications of diabetes such as eye disease (retinopathy), kidney disease or cardiovascular disease. This will be achieved through patient education/empowerment, excellent primary care linked to specialist secondary care and special provisions for early detection and treatment of any complications that do develop. A regional model of care is recommended for children and adolescents with diabetes.
“This document represents our blueprint for the development of services for patients with diabetes over the coming years and I am pleased to see that already the recommendations are being acted on,” HSE Chief Executive Officer Professor Drumm commenting on the launch pointed out.
“To improve the quality of life for people susceptible to diabetes and at the same time stem the tide of cost increases, we must reduce the risks of people getting the condition and minimise the onset of complications in those who already have it.
“Type 2 Diabetes is approximately 10 times more prevalent than Type 1, yet it is preventable. By addressing obesity and sedentary lifestyles people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can significantly reduce the likelihood of actually getting it. I would like to express to all members of the Diabetes EAG my appreciation for committing their expertise and time to improving services in this area.
“The Group’s work represents the blueprint for the development of first class services for people with diabetes. It is practical and patient focused with a strong emphasis on prevention, service integration and community based management, supported by specialist services.
“There are many examples of services around the country that incorporate the features of this blueprint and these are having a very positive impact on treatment delivery. The report will act as a very useful reference point for people to sit down locally, through local implementation teams, to see what they can do to make better use of the existing resources they have in their region,” Professor Drumm said.
A second report outlining a framework for a national diabetic retinopathy screening programme for Ireland is also being launched by the HSE. Retinopathy is one of the most common serious complications of diabetes. This sight threatening condition is preventable by early detection through population screening and treatment. The HSE will engage with key stakeholders on an ongoing basis.
The HSE’s Diabetic Retinopathy Screening programme for the West is commencing in 2009. Funding of €750,000 is being allocated to implement this first phase of the screening service which will be offered to all people with diabetes (approximately 30,000 people over the age of 12 years) registered with the programme between west Limerick and north Donegal.
Professor Gerald Tomkin, President of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland said: “The diabetes community welcomes these reports. With the increasing prevalence of diabetes in Ireland, it is imperative that the Department of Health and Children, the HSE and the diabetes community work together to fully implement these recommendations and implement a national strategy that further enhances current levels of care for all people with diabetes regardless of where they live”.
Note to Editors:
Expert Advisory Groups (EAGs) were set up by the CEO Prof Drumm to advise the HSE on the organisation and development of health and personal social services. They comprise health professionals, clinical experts, patients, clients and service user groups. Their objective is to have an active role in health care reform and operational policy development and to ensure policies are implemented appropriately. EAGs enable our service users and the professionals who provide the service, to influence the development of HSE policies. Expert Advisory Groups are at the heart of operational policy, strategy and quality standards.
Members of the Diabetes Expert Advisory Group are as follows:
Dr. Colm Costigan, Consultant Paediatrician/Endocrinologist,Dr.
Graham Roberts, Consultant Endocrinologist, Dr. Sean Dinneen, Consultant Endocrinologist/Senior Lecturer, Prof. J. Nolan, Consultant Endocrinologist, Dr. Velma Harkins, GP, Dr. Ned Barrett, Consultant Biochemist, Dr. Damian Doyle, GP, Ms Rita Forde, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Ms. Patricia Crocock, Diabetes Nurse Specialist, Dr. Tony O'Sullivan, GP, Ms. Ann Murphy, Kerry Diabetes Association, Ms. Judy Lee, Pharmacist, Ms. Maeve Carmody, Senior Community Dietitian, Ms. Margaret Humphreys, Clinical Specialist Nutrition & Diabetes, Mr. William Reddy, Programme Manager, HSE Transformation Programme 1, Ms. Louise McMahon, Network Manager, Ms. Antoinette Doocey, Process Design Team, National Transformation Programme, Dr. Orlaith O'Reilly, Director of Public Health HSE South, Mr. Brian Mullen/Dr. John Devlin, DOHC, Mr. James Conway, Assistant National Director, (Palliative Care & Chronic Illness), Office of the CEO, Dr. Joe Clarke, PCCC Rep, Transformation Programme.