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Report shows each year 24,000 people in England with diabetes suffer avoidable death

Wednesday 14 December 2011

The first ever report into mortality from the National Diabetes Audit has outlined some shocking statistics into death rates among people with diabetes, published today by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

The report found that up to 24,000 people with diabetes in England die earlier from causes that could have been avoided through better management of their condition.

The report also discovered that compared to the general population, young people with diabetes aged 15 to 34 have the highest mortality risk. Although the figures are worrying for this age group, we do not have enough information to know the causes of these deaths. We know that the transition from paediatric to adult diabetes care services can sometimes be confusing and unsettling; to ensure a smooth transition, the young person needs to be supported and given the right information about their care entitlement.

People with diabetes can live long healthy lives

Although these statistics are upsetting, it highlights the need to make people aware of the importance of self-management of diabetes; we encourage people to raise any issues about their care with their healthcare professionals. With the right care and support, people with diabetes can, and do, go on to live long and healthy lives. We know that managing diabetes effectively and receiving all appropriate care checks can greatly help to reduce life-threatening complications.

Early death rates among people with diabetes can be lowered

People with diabetes can reduce their risks of developing life-threatening complications by:

  • Self-managing their condition through blood glucose monitoring, eating sensibly, taking medication appropriately, leading a healthy lifestyle and attending all their healthcare appointments.
  • Making sure they receive all the care they require, outlined in our 15 healthcare essentials checklist (PDF, 65KB).

15 healthcare essentials checklist

Diabetes is a complex condition and people can sometimes feel overwhelmed with the information on what to do. We want people with diabetes, their family and friends to use the 15 healthcare essentials checklist (PDF, 65KB) to be aware of what care they should receive, understand how to reduce their risk of complications and to contact their healthcare team as soon as a problem occurs. We also want healthcare professionals to use the checklist to ensure their patients are in all service plans.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said, “These figures are incredibly alarming as there is no reason why people with diabetes cannot live long and healthy lives if they receive the right care and support to help them manage their conditions.

“Self-management is very important, but it is also vital that people with diabetes receive the care they need to help them manage their condition in the first place. We know that half of people with Type 2 diabetes and more than two thirds of people with Type 1 diabetes are not receiving the care they need to stay healthy, so it is imperative we take action now to stop even more lives being needlessly cut short.

“That’s why we have launched our 15 healthcare essentials campaign to ensure people with diabetes receive the care they need to stay healthy and we will be holding the NHS to account wherever it fails to deliver high-quality diabetes care.”