Preventing diabetes complications - a call to prioritise care
Jenny Hirst, Co-Chair of The InDependent Diabetes Trust, says many of those already living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are not receiving the care they need.
The InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) fully supports Keith Vaz’s call for the Diabetes Prevention Programme to be a well thought through strategy and to be “tough and effective”. We would also agree with his statement that lukewarm implementation will only achieve lukewarm results. However, the Diabetes Prevention Programme only applies to Type 2 diabetes as Type 1 diabetes is unrelated to obesity and cannot be prevented.
While preventing Type 2 diabetes should be a priority, it is important to remember that there are over 3 million people who are already living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, many of whom are not receiving the care they need and deserve. They too should be a priority in the NHS Five Year review.
The National Diabetes Audit 2012-2013 showed that only 4% of those with newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetes and 17% of those with Type 2 diabetes were offered a structured education programme and less than half received the essential NICE 9 key health checks to maintain their health now and in the future.
The situation for children and young people with Type 1 diabetes is even worse. The National Paediatric Audit (March 2015) has shown that in England and Wales, only 16.1% of young people aged 12 years and older are receiving the 7 annual checks that every child with diabetes should have. The report states that this leaves many children and their families missing out on the chance to prevent health problems and this combined with a lack of diabetes education is contributing to too many children showing early signs of serious long-term complications.
So while we support the call for the Diabetes Prevention Programme to be a priority for the NHS, we hope that adults and children who are already living with diabetes will be an equally important priority as this will improve the health of people with diabetes, prevent diabetes complications and also save NHS costs over time.