Home Guide to diabetes Monitoring your diabetes 15 healthcare essentials – the care you should expect

15 healthcare essentials

What care can you expect?

As well as looking after yourself, everyone with diabetes can get a range of free healthcare services. The 15 healthcare essentials (PDF, 65KB) are the essential health checks and services that everyone with diabetes – of whatever type – should receive from their healthcare team. If you aren't getting all the care you need, take the checklist to your diabetes healthcare team and discuss it with them.

This autumn we're highlighting kidney checks. More than a quarter of people with diabetes don't receive an annual urine test to monitor their kidney function. In people with Type 1 diabetes, this number is as high as 42 per cent.

The urine test is important because having diabetes means you are at increased risk of kidney problems – with up to 40 per cent of people developing kidney disease at some point in their lives. In the very early stages there are usually no symptoms, so the test is really important to pick up any problems early, before they develop and you begin to feel unwell.

What can you do?

  • Remember to ask for your annual urine kidney test. It can help prevent complications like diabetes-related kidney failure. If you don't receive one as part of your annual review, ask for it.
  • If you're asked to take a urine sample to your appointment – make sure you do. It's a really important way to monitor your kidney health, and help you avoid complications in the future.
  • Has your care got better or worse in the last year? We want to hear about it: tell us by filling in our care survey. The more we know, the better we can campaign for better care for everyone.
  • Order a checklist for you, or someone you know, today.

Tell us about the care you receive

You're entitled to receive the 15 healthcare essentials, for free, from your healthcare team. But we know that frequently this isn't the case.

We recently asked you to tell us about the care that you've received over the last year. View the full Diabetes UK care survey results.

If you didn't get the chance to complete the survey, you can still let us know about your care, to help us campaign as strongly as possible.

The information you provide is crucial in helping us to fight for the changes and improvements that will make the most difference to the lives of people with diabetes.

Let us know about the care you're getting by taking our survey now.



What are the 15 healthcare essentials?


What to do if you're not receiving your essential checks

If you have any questions or concerns about your checks, or if there are any checks you are not receiving, it is important to discuss this with your doctor or healthcare professional.

Our guide, Are You Really Getting Your 15? (PDF, 219KB) tells you what each check should look like, and has tips for what you can do if there are any health checks you haven't had this year.

It may be that you have been waiting a long time for your diabetes check up, have problems arranging your appointment, or are not receiving the checks you should be. You may find it helpful to take along a copy of the 15 healthcare essentials checklist and use this as an aid to discussion. You can explain that you have received the information on the 15 healthcare essentials for diabetes and would like to know how you can access the necessary checks.

Making a complaint

If you are not happy with the response you receive, you can ask the organisation for a copy of their complaints procedure. The complaints procedure should give details of who to make the complaint to and any time limits that may apply. If you are unable to complain yourself, you may want to ask a relative or friend to help.

Put your complaint in writing, and keep a copy of it and any response you receive. Explain what you are dissatisfied about and what you would like to happen as a result of your complaint. If you receive a response by telephone, ask them to put their response in writing to you.

If you are not happy with the response you receive, you can refer your complaint to the Ombudsman. You can find more information on the Ombudsman, time limits etc at www.adviceguide.org.uk.

We offer an advocacy service to people with diabetes on issues in connection with their condition. Find out more about the Diabetes UK Advocacy Service.

Getting involved

There are several reasons why you may not be receiving the minimum level of care from your diabetes healthcare team. If you would like to get involved in the planning and organisation of your diabetes service, you can ask at your GP practice about whether there is a user group or patient forum, and find out how you can get in touch.

To learn about becoming involved in your local NHS and diabetes services, sign up to Diabetes Voices. Call us on 020 7424 1008, or email diabetesvoices@diabetes.org.uk.

The Diabetes Watch Online Tool has the most up-to-date statistics on how local areas are performing.


Support the campaign

We’re campaigning to make sure that everyone with diabetes gets the care they’re entitled to. To do this, we need to make sure that everyone with diabetes knows what the 15 healthcare essentials are, and knows that they can ask for them from their healthcare team.

So far, our campaign has reached over 1,500,000 people – and we need your help to reach more.

You can help us by: