Diabetes UK has today responded to a new report which has found that younger people with diabetes, aged under 40, are less likely to receive the annual health checks they should be getting and which are critical to keeping their health under control.
The National Diabetes Audit report using data compiled from 1.9 million people in England and Wales with diabetes and published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), reveals that, among people aged under 40, just 27.3% of with Type 1 diabetes and 40.8% of with Type 2 diabetes are receiving all eight care processes that NICE says they should get. Diabetes UK says this is very worrying because these checks are vitally important to ensure people with diabetes are getting the right care and support they need to help them manage their diabetes. These checks can help prevent people with diabetes from suffering from devastating but preventable complications such as amputation, kidney failure and heart disease.
'Urgent action must be taken'
Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “It is deeply worrying that such a low percentage of younger people with diabetes are receiving all eight of the vital care processes. With this reflecting patterns of previous years, urgent action must be taken to ensure younger people too are given the best chances of good health and don’t continue to be left behind. We know that young people may struggle to fit in getting the checks with work and a busy life. But it is vital that commissioners look at ways to enable more young people to have better access to the healthcare services that will help them to manage their diabetes on a day to day basis.“As the number of people with diabetes continues to soar, mainly fuelled by the massive increase in recent years of people developing Type 2 diabetes, there really is no time to waste; urgent action must be taken so that young people, our future generation, have the best possible chances of living long, healthy lives.”Diabetes UK say there are other areas for concern in the report.Chris Askew said: “We are pleased to see significant improvement in the number of patients achieving target blood pressure levels. Improvements in blood pressure control can help to reduce the risks of cardiovascular complications.” “However, while we are pleased to see a small rise in take-up for some of the key tests across all age groups, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and HbA1c, we have also seen an eight per cent drop in the number of people with Type 1 diabetes getting their urine albumin test and a drop of 9.8 per cent for Type 2 diabetes receiving this test. Not getting this check means people are less likely to find out they have kidney damage until it has already developed into an extremely serious health issue. Latest figures show that nearly 11,000 people in 2012-13 had renal replacement therapy, including dialysis and kidney transplants, as a result of their diabetes . This is a life-threatening complication which has significant cost implications for the NHS as well as exacting a devastating toll on people’s lives.”
Time for change
Diabetes UK is also appealing for a greater sense of urgency when it comes to diabetes care.Chris Askew said: “We want to work with Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England to address the major problems in diabetes and turn 2016 into a year where local healthcare teams are given the support to really make a difference to people living with diabetes so that they do not continue to suffer the very serious complications of poorly managed diabetes.”