Having the right care is essential for the wellbeing of all people with diabetes and there are 15 vital checks and services that everyone with diabetes should get for free from their healthcare team – the 15 Healthcare Essentials.
Diabetes UK is urging everyone with diabetes to make sure they are getting their recommended health checks every year, as a new report published today highlights just how important they are.
The National Diabetes Audit 2015-16 Report 2: Complications and Mortality looked for the first time at the link between three of the annual diabetes health checks - blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure checks – and mortality rates. It found that the risk of premature death for people with diabetes was more than twice as high for those who had not consistently had these three diabetes health checks in the preceding seven years.
Robin Hewings, Head of Policy at Diabetes UK, said: “Annual health checks and effective support for self-management mean some of the serious complications of diabetes can be avoided or treated early, enabling people with diabetes to live long, healthy lives.
“It is unacceptable that the risk of early death continues to be so much higher for people with diabetes, a condition that is costing the NHS more than £10 billion every year, the majority of which is spent on managing the devastating complications experienced by people with diabetes and their families.
“Much more needs to be done to ensure people aren’t slipping through the net and missing out on health checks that could literally save their lives.”
Make diabetes care a priority
Diabetes UK is calling for diabetes care to remain a top priority for government and healthcare providers. Everyone with diabetes should have access to the 15 Healthcare Essentials no matter where they live, whatever their age or type of diabetes.
We believe GPs should continue to receive incentives to provide the 15 Healthcare Essentials and to reach out to everyone that needs them. Proactively sending out reminders and doing as many tests as possible in one appointment will make accessing essential healthcare much easier for busy working people with diabetes.
While this report is alarming, and it’s a huge concern that not everyone with diabetes is getting these potentially life-saving health checks, we want to reassure people, and urge them not to panic.
If you’re concerned that you’re not getting all your annual diabetes health checks, talk to your GP as soon as possible about getting them booked in.
With regular checks, potential problems can be spotted and treated early, hopefully avoiding more serious complications further down the line.
Diabetes UK sets out 15 Healthcare Essentials that should be available to everyone with diabetes – including nine checks recommended by NICE – such as measuring blood glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol and kidney function.
You can read the full National Diabetes Audit report on the NHS Digital website.