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15 healthcare essentials

15 Healthcare Essentials

Are you getting the diabetes care you deserve?

Having the right care is essential for the wellbeing of all people with diabetes. As well as looking after yourself, there are 15 vital checks and services that everyone with diabetes, whatever type, should get for free from their healthcare team every year – the 15 healthcare essentials.  

But we know that many people don’t receive all of the checks and services they should. And you can help.

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

Take the survey now


What are the 15 Healthcare Essentials?

The 15 Healthcare Essentials is the minimum level of healthcare everyone with diabetes deserves and should expect.

You can use this list to talk to your healthcare team about your individual needs as part of your annual care planning review. This is where you should agree your priorities, discuss your personal targets and agree a written plan of action to help you reach them.

1. Get your blood glucose levels measured (HbA1c blood test)
2. Have your blood pressure measured
3. Have your blood fats measured
4. Have your eyes screened for signs of retinopathy
5. Have your feet and legs checked
6. Have your kidney function monitored
7. Get ongoing, individual dietary advice
8. Get emotional and psychological support
9. Be offered a local education course
10. See specialist healthcare professionals
11. Get a free flu vaccination
12. Receive high-quality care if admitted to hospital
13. Have the chance to talk about any sexual problems
14. If you smoke, get support to quit
15. Get information and specialist care if you are planning to have a baby

If you aren't getting all the care you deserve, take the 15 healthcare essentials checklist (PDF, 65KB) to your diabetes healthcare team and discuss it with them.


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.


Annual care survey 

We know that not everyone is getting their 15 healthcare essentials, and in the 2015 Diabetes Care Survey, we asked you about the care that you had received in the last 12 months. 

Care survey results 2015

  • 76 per cent of people told us that they haven’t seen any change in the qualityof their care over the last 12 months. But, 13 per cent think that their care has got worse, and 11 per cent have seen an improvement.
  • 76 per cent of people still aren’t getting the emotional and psychological support they need.
  • 46 per cent said that they’d never been offered a diabetes education course.

If you aren't getting all the care you need, take the checklist to your diabetes healthcare team and discuss it with them.

Take the 2016 survey 


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 more than 2 million people – and we need your help to reach more.

You can help us by: