People with diabetes deserve better care, says Diabetes UK

New statistics from the charity Diabetes UK reveal thousands of people are struggling to access diabetes care with little more than a third of people living with the condition receiving their recommended checks. The figures appear in Recovering Diabetes Care; Preventing the Mounting Crisis, a report which has been published as part of the charity’s Diabetes is Serious campaign. campaign showing the scale of the problem with a series of calls to UK government to tackle it.

The report, which includes the results of a survey of more than 10,000 people living with or affected by diabetes, found almost half (47%) experienced difficulties managing their condition last year.

Only 36% of people with diabetes in England received all their recommended checks, 21% fewer than the previous year. This failure to monitor people has put them at risk of serious complications and premature death, Diabetes UK says. 63% of those questioned attributed this in part to not having sufficient access to their healthcare team. Unsurprisingly, the report also showed people in the most deprived areas are finding it harder to manage and to access care, where 71% said they had such problems.

Diabetes UK says urgent government action is needed before lives are needlessly lost. It found people living with diabetes have been ‘pushed to the back of the queue’ during the coronavirus pandemic and said a national recovery plan is needed to support front line healthcare teams in getting vital services back on track. This plan should specifically address the problems caused by lack of investment and staffing constraints and demonstrate a renewed commitment to improving outcomes for people with, and at risk of, diabetes as part of the forthcoming update of the NHS Long Term Plan.

“Everyone with diabetes should have a review of the key care processes and their care plan by the end of 2022. “If people with diabetes cannot receive the care they need, they can risk devastating, life altering complications,’ said Chris Askew chief executive of Diabetes UK. We know the NHS has worked tirelessly to keep us safe throughout the pandemic, but the impacts on care for people living with diabetes have been vast. While the UK Government has been focused on cutting waiting lists for operations and other planned care, people with diabetes have been pushed to the back of the queue.We need to get this essential, life-saving care back on track.”

There are an estimated 4.9m people living with diabetes in the UK. To reduce the risk of complications, people living with diabetes must constantly self-manage their condition with support from healthcare professionals through routine care. A cornerstone of this is formed by eight ‘care processes’ recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which include blood sugar measurement (HbA1c), foot checks, and blood pressure monitoring. Research has shown that the delivery of these regular checks is associated with better health outcomes.

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