Released today, the long awaited Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) diabetes national report outlines a series of recommendations to improve care and services for people living with diabetes.
What does the report say?
Professors Gerry Rayman and Partha Kar, who led the report, visited over 100 hospitals providing diabetes services across England. They spoke to healthcare professionals, reviewed the services currently available and collected data to analyse. This helped them identify several key areas where change is needed to ensure people with diabetes get the support and care they need. These areas include:
Despite huge advances and investment in footcare, one in six hospitals in England still does not have a multidisciplinary footcare team. These are teams that include consultants who specialise in diabetes, podiatrists, diabetes nurse specialists and other healthcare professionals with experience treating and managing foot problems caused by diabetes. The report found that hospitals with these teams provide better care for people with diabetes.
Professors Rayman and Kar therefore recommend that all NHS trusts should have a dedicated multidisciplinary footcare team, as stated in the NHS Long Term Plan published in 2019.
We support this recommendation, as we know that most foot problems can be prevented with good, regular footcare. That’s why it’s important that people with diabetes can access high quality footcare services wherever they live, so early opportunities to identify and treat foot problems are not lost.
Care in hospital
The report found that when people with diabetes go to hospital, because of their diabetes or otherwise, they often experience avoidable harm from poor care.
To improve such care, the Professors recommend that all NHS trusts should have multidisciplinary diabetes inpatient teams. These teams should include nurses, pharmacists, dietitians, psychologists and podiatrists who are experienced in diabetes care and can offer support where needed.
They also suggest trusts should offer electronic prescribing, which allows prescriptions to be signed, sent and processed electronically. This can help healthcare professionals ensure medicines are used safely and correctly in hospital settings.
We support these recommendations, as they will directly help to make hospitals safe for people with diabetes. This is particularly important during the pandemic, as we know people with diabetes are at risk of poor outcomes if they catch coronavirus. If hospital care is needed, we must ensure they get the correct support.
They recommend that access to technology should be made available to all people with type 1 diabetes who need it, and that this should be as close as possible to where they live.
Diabetes technology has the potential to improve lives by helping people manage their condition better. We know the benefits and impact it can have, and that’s why we agree that everyone with type 1 should be able to access the tech they need.
We're calling on the government to increase vital funding for diabetes technology. Help us put an end to the postcode lottery in England and join our Cheque for Tech campaign today.
Why is the report important?
The findings of the GIRFT report confirm what we already know about the improvements that must be made to diabetes care across England.
But with the number of people living with the condition growing every year, it’s vital that the recommendations in this report are put into practice, so more people can get the quality of care they need to manage their diabetes well.
Chris Askew OBE, our Chief Executive, said:
"As we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic, and while vital services remain under immense pressure, we must not forget that serious conditions - like diabetes - cannot be put on hold. This report, and the recommendations it makes for vital improvements in key areas of diabetes care, speak directly to the concerns of many people living with diabetes.
The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected people with diabetes, and has shone a light on the potential impact on care when they are unable to access fully staffed multidisciplinary diabetes inpatient teams, foot protection services, and diabetes specialist nurses.
Without action, people with diabetes will - unnecessarily - continue to be at increased risk of serious and life-altering complications. It is vitally important that these recommendations are acted upon as soon possible to ensure that people with diabetes get the best care possible."