England’s Diabetes Crisis

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diabetes-ukA new report published by Diabetes UK, England’s leading diabetes charity, shows diabetes healthcare in England has drifted into a “state of crisis” with less than half of people with diabetes getting the basic minimum care they need.

 According to the State of the Nation 2012 report there are some areas where just six per cent of people with diabetes are getting the regular checks and services recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

The report details how the lack of diabetes care has helped cause the rise in rates of diabetes-related complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke.

These complications do not only cause a extreme reduction in the quality of life of people with diabetes and early death but are also account for the rising costs of diabetes care in the UK. These complications account for about 80 per cent of NHS spending on diabetes and are one of the main reasons that treating diabetes costs about 10 per cent of the entire NHS budget.

The report also highlights how a National Service Framework for diabetes – which sets out the healthcare people with the condition should be getting – has been in place for 11 years, but has yet to become a reality.

According to the report, the Government urgently needs to deliver a plan to implement these standards; to introduce more effective risk assessment and early diagnosis so people can either avoid Type 2 diabetes or get the healthcare they need to manage the condition and avoid complications; and for all people diagnosed with diabetes to have access to education to support them in self managing their condition to prevent complications.

As well as the large number of people not getting the checks they need to manage their diabetes, the report offers a comprehensive overview of diabetes healthcare in England. It revealed that, from diagnosis through to managing the complications of the condition, the approach to diabetes is in need of wholesale change.

The issues highlighted in the report include:

  • A quarter of children and young people with Type 1 diabetes are only diagnosed when they already need emergency treatment
  • There are some areas where just half of people with diabetes are thought to have been diagnosed
  • Just 49.8 per cent of people with diabetes are getting the nine basic health checks and services recommended by NICE; this figure ranges from six per cent in the worst-performing areas to 69 per cent in the best-performing areas
  • 40 per cent of people with the condition are not meeting their blood glucose targets
  • The situation is even worse for children and young people with diabetes: just four per cent get all their annual checks, while 85 per cent are not meeting their blood glucose targets.

Diabetes UK is using the publication of the report to launch a new campaign for change urging people with diabetes to contact their MP to urge him to write to Paul Burstow, Minister for Care Services, to demand a plan for improving diabetes healthcare.

Diabetes UK will also be launching a Facebook and Twitter campaign to help spread the word and try to make a change.

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