I propose to take Questions Nos. 523 and 529 together.
The National Clinical Programme for Diabetes has created a new post for an Integrated Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist, operating from Letterkenny General Hospital. As a result, the nursing resource in Letterkenny General Hospital will be restructured, delivering benefits to both children and adults with Diabetes. The current resource of two Clinical Nurse Specialist posts and one Staff Nurse post in the Diabetic service at Letterkenny General Hospital will remain unchanged. One of the two hospital Clinical Nurse Specialist posts will have a focus on children with diabetes and the other will have a focus on adults with diabetes. The existing midwifery allocation to support pregnant women with diabetes will also continue unchanged.
The new post of Integrated Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist is an additional resource which will link hospital-based diabetic services to community-based diabetic care services. This role is an essential resource in empowering patients to achieve optimum diabetes control by utilising clinically sound collaborative links between primary care and secondary care providers, as envisaged in the National Integrated Care Diabetes Programme developed by the National Clinical Programme for Diabetes.
The outcome of these changes will be that nursing support for children with diabetes within the hospital will remain at current levels. Overall services will be enhanced through the support of the Integrated Services Clinical Nurse Specialist, who will work across both the hospital and the community. In addition to the enhanced nursing resources outlined above, the hospital is in the process of recruiting permanent Consultants to two vacant posts within the Paediatric service. One of these posts is being advertised as a Consultant Paediatrician with a Special Interest in Diabetes. In the interim, Consultant cover for children with diabetes is currently being provided by a locum Consultant Paediatrician.