Jordan and Madison Thompson both suffer from type 1 diabetes and may not have access to a health professional specialising in diabetic treatment in 2014.
Jordan and Madison Thompson both suffer from type 1 diabetes and may not have access to a health professional specialising in diabetic treatment in 2014. Luka Kauzlaric

Family considers move as city loses another health service

PAEDIATRIC endocrinologists will no longer visit Gladstone Hospital, and for mother Sue Ellen Thompson, continuing consultations with specialised health professionals means she must consider travelling long distances or moving.

"We are definitely living in the shadow of Rockhampton in terms of health services," she said.

"It is a huge concern. Bundaberg, Mackay and Rockhampton all have these services and we don't. We choose to live in Gladstone but the health services just don't compare."

Children Jordan and Madison must carry insulin and insulin-delivery devices wherever they go, and say life with diabetes "sucks".

Paediatric endocrinologists familiar with the medical histories of the Thompson children visited Gladstone from the Mater Hospital in Brisbane on a quarterly basis.

Mrs Thompson says receiving the announcement that the service would no longer continue in 2014 was a source of anguish.

"The paediatricians who visited from the Mater were a great source of comfort for our family," she said.

"They developed a good relationship with Jordan and Madison and were able to answer all of our questions and queries about living with type 1 diabetes."

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service will appoint two paediatricians in early 2014 in a joint arrangement between the public and private hospitals.

Dr Nicki Murdock, executive director and director of medical services at Gladstone Hospital, says the appointment is great news for the region.

"These are both general paediatricians and will have gone through some training around diabetes, but they are not sub-specialists in juvenile diabetes," she said.

"In a major coup for the Gladstone community, one of our new paediatricians is an allergy specialist, which is a much sought after speciality."

Type 1 diabetes causes a person's pancreas to not produce insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food.

More than 20,000 insulin injections, 30,000 finger pricks and 15,000 carbohydrate-counted meals are just part of the management regime a child with type 1 diabetes can undergo before they reach their 18th birthday.