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MPs call for action to improve diabetes care

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A group of cross-party MPs have called on the Government to take action to improve the current state of diabetes care.

The MPs made their call during a 90 minute long House of Commons debate where they discussed at length how better support and care for people with diabetes can help to reduce their risk of serious diabetes related complications and costs to the NHS.During the debate, which was called by Paula Sherriff MP, the MPs highlighted that despite the increasing rise of diabetes and the severity of the condition many people with diabetes are not getting the care or support they need to manage their diabetes effectively. For example, there is significant variation in the delivery of diabetes care and too many people with diabetes are not offered the opportunity to attend a diabetes education course, which can provide the knowledge and confidence they need to manage their condition effectively.The MPs, which included, amongst others, Liz McInnes, Jamie Reed, Justine Madders, Ronnie Cowan and Derek Thomas, argued that this has serious implications as if people with diabetes are not supported to manage their diabetes well they are put at increased risk of serious complications such as blindness, amputations and stroke. These complications are extremely costly to the health service. The NHS spends £10 billion on diabetes every year, and 80 per cent of this cost is spent on managing avoidable complications. Speaking in the House of Commons Paula Sherriff MP said: “Every year, more than 24,000 people die prematurely due to diabetes and its complications. However, there is significant room to improve diabetes care, which would reduce the risk of diabetics developing complications and tackle the rising costs of diabetes to the NHS. First, we could take action to reduce avoidable amputations. There are more than 7,000 diabetes-related amputations every year in England alone, and foot ulcers and amputations cost £1 of every £150 spent in the NHS. In 2013, the Secretary of State for Health committed to reducing the rate of diabetes-related amputations by 50 per cent over five years, but the national amputation rate has since remained steady.”To improve the delivery of diabetes care the MPs called on the Government to ensure poorly performing Clinical Commissioning Groups, the bodies that are responsible providing health care in local areas, are held to greater account.Speaking in response to the comments raised Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, agreed that diabetes is a huge challenge and that improvements to care must be made. She said: “Last year’s National Audit Office report showed that the relative risk of someone with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes developing a diabetes-related complication has not changed, and indeed has fallen for most complications, despite the growing number of people with diabetes, so we have made progress. Clearly, the question now is how we can go much further. Diabetes is a key priority for us, and we want to see a measurable difference in the lifetime of this Parliament.” 

During the debate Paula Sheriff also discussed her recent visit to the Diabetic Foot Clinic at King’s College Hospital along with Liz McInnes MP, which was arranged by Diabetes UK, where she met patients experiencing major foot problems. King’s College is a centre of excellence for diabetes foot care and has one of the lowest incidences of major amputation in the country. It was Ms Sherriff’s attendance at the clinic, which led her to secure the debate.

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