Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt reinforced his Department’s commitment to improve diabetes care and prevent the rise of Type 2 at an event in the House of Commons to launch Diabetes UK’s State of the Nation report this week. The report illustrates that poor delivery of life-changing education to people with diabetes is fuelling serious diabetes complications, premature deaths and unsustainable costs to the NHS.
The charity’s annual analysis of diabetes care reveals that in 2014-15, only two per cent of people newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and six per cent of people newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in England and Wales were recorded as attending a diabetes education course, which teaches them how to effectively manage their condition.
In a speech at the event, Jeremy Hunt discussed the importance of not only encouraging better education for those diagnosed, but also preventing cases of Type 2 diabetes which, in many cases, is closely linked to being overweight or obese. Mr Hunt told attendees about his concerns for the risk of his own children developing Type 2 diabetes in the future if we do nothing now and said, “I think that is unacceptable when we know that this condition is largely preventable.”
The Health Secretary also laid out his plans to improve diabetes care for all people living with the condition, and said, “There is a lot that needs to happen. We’ve got to improve education, we’ve got to reduce foot amputations and we’ve got to improve inpatient care, so, what are we doing to try and improve these things? First of all I’m very proud to say for the first time, and I think possibly the first country in the world, we’re introducing Ofsted style ranking for the quality of diabetes care throughout all CCGs. That’s a really important step alongside the major Type 2 diabetes Prevention Programme put together by NHS England, which I feel goes hand in hand with the Childhood Obesity Strategy to help combat Type 2 diabetes.”
The minister went on to thank Diabetes UK for constantly campaigning about these issues, stating that it really has made a difference to MPs, Parliament and policy. He continued: “Building these networks has helped MPs understand more about the condition and its complications and the engagement from Diabetes UK has been tremendous.”
Also speaking at the event was Diabetes Voices advocate Ramona Mulligan, 48, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2009. She said: “When I received the diagnosis, I was absolutely devastated as I’d lost a close friend to diabetes and heart disease and almost lost my mother so knew it well. I started eating healthily, got more active and got involved in programmes through my GP that helped support these changes. I was determined and managed to change my life, so it’s important that more people are aware of what’s available to help both manage and prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.”
The launch event, which was hosted by Victoria Atkins MP who has Type 1 diabetes herself, brought together diabetes campaigners from around the country, MPs, and healthcare professionals who advocate on behalf of the charity; all of whom were in attendance to support Diabetes UK’s efforts to make diabetes a national health priority.