A Fine Gael Senator - who lost more than 38kg (six stone) since being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year - has called on the Government to make a free blood test available for people to test for the condition.

Senator Ray Butler claims that it can cost people around €130 to get a blood test carried out and making this test free would save the taxpayer in the long term.

He made his plea to Minister for Health Simon Harris during Order of Business in the Seanad this afternoon following the release of a Health Service Executive report into Type 2 diabetes in recent days. 

Last August Mr Butler was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and told that he would have to take nine tablets per day for the rest of his life.

He now says his diagnosis was a "huge wake up call" and has lost more than 38kg (six stone).

He told the Seanad: "I would like to welcome the recent HSE report on Type 2 diabetes in Ireland. The report said there are 200,000 people in Ireland that have Type 2 diabetes. I would say there are another 200,000 to 300,000 people that don't know that they have it."

He claimed the report puts pressure on GPs to do more on the issues and asks them to advertise the seriousness of Type 2 diabetes.

Mr Butler said: "People can be given a chance, and I am the living proof of this, if we implement giving a free blood test to people of a certain age for Type 2 diabetes.

"When you got to a doctor your first appointment is €60. Then to get the blood test is another €25. Then to go back to the GP is another €45. So this all adds up to €130 and a lot of people just don't have this money.

"When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I got the wake up call when I came out of the chemist and it meant that I had to take nine tablets a day for the rest of my life, at 50 years of age, I said this ain't going to happen.

"I was 17 stone 11 pounds last August and today I am 11 stone 8lb. So it was a huge wake up call for me. When you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you go on the long-term illness, which is costing the taxpayer a lot of money"

He suggested the free blood test would have the long-term effect of saving the Government money.

Mr Butler asked if Mr Harris could be invited in so senators can ask him: "Can we put a free blood test in place and give people a chance in life?"