1 in 3 diabetic inpatients suffer NHS error report finds

Almost one in three diabetic inpatients in Wales has experienced at least one NHS medication error-  a new report by Diabetes UK Cymru finds.1 in 3 diabetic inpatients suffer NHS error report findsThe charity is concerned because the number of people with diabetes in Wales rose more than a quarter in five years.

The Diabetes UK Cymru report reveals diabetes is growing rapidly with an increase of 35,000 people with the condition in Wales over the past five years to 160,000 – a rise of 28%.

By 2025, the number of people with diabetes is forecast to top 250,000 with 66,000 people currently undiagnosed.

Despite the concern, the charity says 70% of adults with type 1 diabetes and 43% with type 2 are not getting simple checks, such as blood glucose tests.

Diabetes UK Cymru director Dai Williams said “The cost of diabetes is massive – the bottom line is – it’s a ticking time bomb. We’ve got people wandering around with high blood sugars, not even realising it’s going to cause a problem.”

The report, called State of the Nation 2012, also claims that 29.8% of inpatients with diabetes experienced at least one medication error while on a ward.

Mr Tyndall raised concerns over clinical record keeping by the Hywel Dda health board and made recommendations.

Week In Week Out has also learned about three more complaints about the treatment of diabetic inpatients at Hywel Dda health board hospitals.

In a statement Hywel Dda health board said it takes any allegation of a breach of professional standards seriously and an investigation was ongoing.

Hywel Dda was the only health board in Wales which has increased the number of specialist diabetes nurses, from seven in 2008/9 to the equivalent of 12.34 full-time staff in 2012/13.

Cwm Taf in the south Wales valleys was the only board to cut staffing, from the equivalent of 13.89 full-time nurses in 2008/9 to 11 in 2012/13.

Cwm Taf Health Board is pioneering a new scheme to cut diabetes-related medication errors in their hospitals.

It is a highly visible branding campaign called Think Glucose and involves raising awareness of diabetes with all staff throughout every ward.

Hypo Boxes on every medication trolley means treatment can be given to patients suffering a hypoglycemic attack quickly; pre-printed medication charts cut the risk of mis-reading doseage; and colour-coded blood sugar monitoring charts mean that dangerously low blood sugar levels go into a red zone – alerting staff of the need to treat the patient quickly.

The campaign has seen medication errors at one hospital, the Royal Glamorgan, decrease from 50% to 6%.

At the moment, Cwm Taf is the only health board running Think Glucose, but other health boards are showing interest – and Hywel Dda says it will be rolling out the programme in the New Year.

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