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New 15 Healthcare Essentials Guide

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Diabetes UK has released an updated ‘15 Healthcare Essentials guide’ this week. Having an annual flu jab and getting help for sexual problems are now included in the guide which aims to help people with diabetes understand what care and support they should be receiving.These additions to the new-look guide have been informed by discussions with Diabetes UK’s Council of Healthcare Professionals, Council of People with Diabetes and our Involvement Network. They also take into account feedback from the charity’s annual care survey.

Flu can lead to problems with diabetes control

Getting an annual flu jab from your GP has now been included in the 15 Healthcare Essentials because people with diabetes are at greater risk of severe illness, such as pneumonia, if they get flu and that can lead to problems with diabetes control. Another new ‘Essential’ is being given the opportunity to talk about any sexual problems. This is because diabetes increases the risk of sexual dysfunction in both men and women which can be caused by physical, emotional and lifestyle factors, or by medication being taken by the person with diabetes. People with diabetes who experience sexual dysfunction should be assessed and given support and education, and referred to an appropriate service if necessary.This is the first time the 15 Healthcare Essentials have been refreshed since they were launched over four years ago. To make way for the two new ‘Essentials’ the list no longer includes guidance for children and young people as this is now covered separately in Diabetes UK’s ‘Type 1 Essentials’ guide. Care planning has also been removed from the list, instead being mentioned in the introduction which advises readers to: ‘Use this list to talk to your healthcare team about your individual needs as part of your annual care planning review’.

"Getting feedback from people with diabetes was critical"

Simon O’Neill, Director of Healthcare Intelligence at Diabetes UK, said: “Since its launch the 15 Healthcare Essentials guide has played a vital role in helping people with diabetes to understand what care and support they should be receiving, but we felt it was time to review and update the guide to ensure it works even harder for people with diabetes. Getting feedback from people with diabetes and healthcare professionals on how we could improve the guide was a critical first step.“Getting the flu jab could save your life if you have diabetes, and being able to talk about any sexual problems you are encountering as a result of your diabetes and asking for help with this is something that everyone should feel confident and comfortable in doing. That’s why these two things are now included in the 15 Healthcare Essentials.”Other ‘Essentials’ have also been updated to contain more detail. As well as getting your long term blood glucose levels measured at least once a year, Diabetes UK recommends that people who self-monitor their diabetes have access to test strips and the appropriate equipment. Advice on weight management now includes where you can get support and information, and recommends receiving ongoing dietary advice from a healthcare professional with appropriate expertise in nutrition, with the option to be referred to a dietitian if necessary. Being given ongoing, individual dietary advice was one of the areas people with diabetes felt particularly strongly that they needed.For more information and to order a copy of the new-look ‘15 Healthcare Essentials’ guide gohere

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