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Lack of care planning failing people with diabetes

Monday 17 March 2014

Almost two thirds of people with diabetes do not have a personal care plan in place despite them being vital for enabling people to manage the condition.

Diabetes UK's annual online survey about the healthcare people with diabetes receive, which was completed by 1,609 people with the condition, has found that 64.9 per cent of people said they had no care plan in place. 

Every person with diabetes should receive personalised care planning


This is despite strong evidence that giving people with long-term conditions greater control over how their condition is managed improves their health outcomes, which is why the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that every person with diabetes should receive personalised care planning resulting in an agreed care plan.

This enables people to be much more involved in agreeing with their health care team how best to manage their own diabetes and this, in turn, can help reduce the risk of serious complications such as kidney failure, amputations, stroke and heart attack.

Treating complications accounts for 80 per cent of the £10 billion per year the NHS spends on diabetes, but many of them could be prevented through better ongoing management of the condition. This is why Diabetes UK is calling on NHS organisations to ensure everyone with diabetes has a personalised care plan.

It is also urging people with the condition to make sure they are aware of the importance of care planning, and to help address the lack of awareness the charity has launched an animation showing how people can get more involved in their diabetes care.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We know that personalised care planning helps put people with diabetes in the driving seat and, crucially, gives them a better chance of a long and healthy life. After all, healthcare professionals might only spend a few hours a year with someone with diabetes, while it is the person who has the condition who has to manage it the rest of the time.

"To be effective the personal care plan must not be a tick box exercise"

“Personalised care planning is not about a person having a sheet on the file at their GP surgery that says ‘personal care plan’. To be effective it must not be a tick box exercise. It is about giving the person with diabetes the opportunity to work together with their healthcare team to be more informed, more vocal and play a bigger role in their care. For example, they should come prepared with the results of their tests and be ready to have a meaningful conversation about what needs to be done next. This might result in attending structured education, trying new medication or being referred to a slimming club. It’s about giving people the right information and ability to access help when they need it.

“By helping prevent complications, care planning is good news for people with diabetes and good news for the NHS’s finances, which is why we want more people to get it. We need to get the message across to the NHS that if people with diabetes do not have personalised care planning at the moment, then this needs to be rectified urgently and in some cases this will need to be built into the development of diabetes services.

“But equally, it is really important that people with diabetes understand what healthcare they are entitled to so that they can hold the NHS to account if they are not getting it. Our new animation shows that people with diabetes need to be central to decisions about their care and we hope it gets across this important issue in a fun way.”