NHS diabetes care ‘still has mountain to climb’, experts warn

The NHS still ‘has a mountain to climb’ in the treatment and prevention of diabetes despite labour Government boasts of good progress, experts have said.

A report from the Department of Health said diabetes care is improving rapidly thanks to new guidelines developed five years ago.

More people are being diagnosed and are receiving treatment, the report said.

But critics said there are still 100 amputations a week due to diabetes complications and one in 10 adult deaths can be attributed to the condition and more children are being attending A&E; due to complications, showing that the Department of Health report ‘paints too rosy a picture’.

Diabetes UK chief executive Douglas Smallwood, said: “In view of such outcomes and the fact that the number of people with diabetes is set to double to four million by 2020, this report paints too rosy a picture of the current standard of diabetes care.

“We have a huge mountain to climb to ensure that all people with, and those at risk of, diabetes have access to the information, education, support and high-quality care to enable them to manage their condition on a day-to-day basis, with the help of specialist diabetes teams.

“The rate of progress in diabetes care needs to be much greater in the next five years than we’ve achieved in the previous five years.”

Five years after the Diabetes National Service Framework was published, around 600,000 people have been diagnosed with the condition, the report said.

And vascular checks announced in April, but yet to begin, are expected to prevent around 4,000 people from developing diabetes each year, it said.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: “This report shows the NHS has taken a step in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go before people with diabetes are getting the help they need to manage their condition.

“But what is most striking about the report is what it doesn’t say. Almost no mention is made of the big risk that, unless we effectively tackle obesity, the number of people suffering with diabetes will almost certainly increase.

“A diabetes strategy will not be worth the paper it’s written on if a greater focus is not put on obesity.”

Health Minister, Ann Keen, said: “Today’s report shows that the NHS is getting better and better at identifying people with diabetes and at supporting them to manage their condition.”

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