MPs call on the NHS to improve diabetes care

Diabetes

A parliamentary committee of MPs has identified “significant variations” in the routine care and support available to diabetes sufferers, and in outcomes for patients living with diabetes.

The Public Accounts Committee of MPs is calling on the NHS and the DoH to “take rapid action” to address the issue. While the report notes that the UK performs comparatively well internationally and that progress has been made to diabetes services since its last report in 2012, it suggests focus is now needed to implement a best practice approach to routine care for existing sufferers as well as ramping up participation in a national prevention programme for around 10,000 people who may be at risk of developing the chronic condition.

According to recent data, there were around 3.2 million people over the age of 16 living with diabetes in England, and the condition is estimated to cost the NHS £5.6 billion a year.

Sugar

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes is also rising 4.8% each year and according to the report, very few of those newly-diagnosed patients are currently opting to participate in education services to help them manage their condition and, crucially, to prevent complications from developing. Complications of diabetes include sight problems, heart, kidney and tissue and nerve damage, issues which combined accounts for two-thirds of the £5.6 billion cost to the NHS.

The committee says the number of patients experiencing complications is also increasing, and specialist NHS staff are unable to keep up with this spiralling demand. Additionally, geographic variations to services were found to exist across clinical commissioning groups (CCG) and between different groups of patients. It recommends that as soon as April this year, diabetes data should be used to identify poorly-performing CCGs and put in place measures to improve performance.

“Deeply concerning”

A spokesperson at the Department of Health says of the findings: "Any variation in care, as this report highlights, is deeply concerning.

"That's why we are creating a national diabetes prevention programme, the first of its kind in the world, so that we help people avoid developing this devastating condition in the first place."


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