Government inaction blamed for the "scandal of early deaths" in people with diabetes

Tuesday 21 February 2012

The Government's failure to match its words on diabetes healthcare with action is responsible for the "scandal of early deaths and preventable complications" in people with diabetes, according to the Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

Barbara Young, speaking on the BBC ahead of an edition of Radio 4's 'File on 4' on diabetes care, has called for the Government to make diabetes a much higher priority and to bring an end to the current situation where people with diabetes die an average of between 10 (for Type 2) and 20 (for Type 1) years earlier than the rest of the population. One of the reasons for this is that too few of them have access to all the health checks and services recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence.

Dynamic action needed

Baroness Young said, "The Government often says the right things but the fact is that we are treading water when it comes to delivering quality diabetes healthcare. Only dynamic action can bring an end to the scandal of the high levels of early death and preventable complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke.

"Lack of politcal will"

"The stark fact is that people are dying and suffering dramatically reduced quality of life as a result of lack of political will and this is why I am delighted 'File on 4' is shining a light on this issue.

"Perhaps the most frustrating thing is that this is one of the few problems facing the Government that does not require more investment. A colossal amount of money is already being spent on diabetes – about 10 per cent of the NHS budget – but too much of it is being used to treat the complications of diabetes rather than to prevent those complications developing in the first place.

"Start walking the walk"

"Health professionals are constantly telling us how frustrated they are about the constraints the system places on them and we want the Government and the NHS to give them the tools they need to provide the excellent care that people with diabetes deserve. It is time to stop just talking the talk on diabetes healthcare and start walking the walk."

15 healthcare essentials

The 15 healthcare essentials campaign outlines the 15 diabetes checks or services that every person with diabetes should receive or have access to.

We have created a simple patient checklist leaflet, Diabetes – The care you should receive (PDF, 65KB) which contains details of all 15 essentials, to help people identify any checks or services that we believe they are entitled to.

'File on 4'

'File on 4: Diabetes' was broadcast on Radio 4 at 20.00 on Tuesday 21 February. You can find out more and listen to the programme on the BBC iPlayer.

Barbara Young was on hand to answer your Tweets during the broadcast. We've collected the conversation using Storify: