More funding for diabetes services needed

Tough financial year for diabetes charity
  • Deborah Condon

The charity tasked with providing information, support and services to people with diabetes in Ireland, has seen a huge jump in demand for these services, however financial support ‘has not increased in line with this demand'.

Speaking at the Diabetes Ireland AGM at the weekend, the charity's chairperson, Prof Hilary Hoey, said that the last year has been extremely busy and demand for services has continued to increase, ‘drawing more and more on the charity's small staff and limited financial resources.'.

An estimated 225,000 people have diabetes in Ireland, however, the charity receives less than 50% of the funding it requires from the HSE. It relies on membership fees, fundraising, sponsorship and donations for the remainder.

Services provided by the charity include:
-Patient support via local branches and a helpline
-Information via a website, social media and a quarterly magazine, Diabetes Ireland
-Direct health education via conferences and community-based structured education programmes
-Financial services - negotiated motor and health insurance rates
-Support for children and families, such as the Sweetpea Kidz Club and teen adventure activities
-Health promotion activities, such as school talks and workplace screenings.

Diabetes Ireland also runs two care centres in Dublin and Cork, which offer important medical services, such as podiatry and dietitian services, at a subsidised price for members.

"The number of people attending our care centres has increased. The number of enquiries online and offline and the demands for up to date information that goes with them has also increased significantly. However, financial support for services has not increased in line with demand," Prof Hoey said.

Also speaking at the AGM, the charity's treasurer, Pat Power, described the financial year ending June 2017 as a ‘tough' one.

"We are finding it difficult to maintain services and ongoing scandals in the charity sector are having a knock-on effect. We need more HSE funding," he commented.

Diabetes Ireland CEO, Kieran O'Leary, pointed out that 75% of income and expenditure is used for ‘the provision of direct care, education and health promotion services, with the remainder spent on administration, including governance and fundraising'.

Looking ahead, Mr O'Leary said that the charity would focus on generating the income necessary to maintain current services, but it also hopes to implement some new initiatives.

The AGM was held ahead of World Diabetes Day (November 14).

For more information on Diabetes Ireland, including how to become a member, click here


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