Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, told diabetes campaigners and MPs the time had come “to see words turned into action” and added that people with diabetes could hold the Government to “our promises about transforming diabetes care”.
Speaking at the launch of a new report, ‘Diabetes Care: Improving Standards and Reducing Variation’, the Health Secretary backed its findings. The report highlights the current lottery of care for people with diabetes, not just by postcode but also by type of diabetes and age, but also makes recommendations how care can be improved.
'We need to do better on prevention and treatment'
At the event, held in the House of Commons, the Health Secretary said: “We need to do better on prevention and treatment. A lot of awareness and empathetic words have been spoken by people like me but we do need to see that turned into action.”
He urged the audience of MPs, healthcare professionals and campaigners, including people with diabetes, to use the report, which provides solutions to tackle the current variation in care, as a blueprint to go to their Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and push for change. He said the £40 million that had been announced by the Government was designed to improve diabetes care, including improving access to structured education.
Mr Hunt said a start had been made on the obesity strategy, including the sugar levy, compulsory exercise for children of primary school age and that food manufacturers were being encouraged to make reductions of sugar in their products aimed at children. He also flagged up that England was the first country in the world to introduce Ofsted style rankings for diabetes care for CCGs.
Transparency was a key theme of Mr Hunt’s speech. He highlighted the work being done to give people access to their patient records at the touch of a button.
'A patient led approach'
“It’s not because it’s a ‘sexy, Silicon valley’ thing to do,” he said. “It’s because it’s a patient led approach which will be especially valuable for people with long term conditions.”
He also talked about the potential for approved NHS apps for mobile devices to help give people the tools to manage their conditions, which could then feed into medical records.
“The way we could most transform diabetes care is by people feeling ownership of their condition and taking control of it. I don’t want to pretend there isn’t still a long way to go but you have a strong commitment from the Government and you can hold us to our promises about transforming diabetes care.”
Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes, which wrote the report, said: “We are on a cliff edge and things must change. We must revolutionise diabetes care and we need to motivate and put pressure on CCGs.”