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Statement on Gillian Astbury

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Diabetes UK has issued a statement in response to Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust being fined £200,000 for failing in its care of Gillian Astbury, who died at Stafford Hospital in 2007 after not being given insulin.

A Diabetes UK spokesperson said: “The case at Mid-Staffordshire was clearly extreme. It is important to recognise that every week in our hospitals, a number of people with diabetes can and do become life-threateningly ill as a result of not being given the insulin they need. This happens to about one in every 200 hospital patients with diabetes and this is something that is entirely preventable.

"As well as people becoming ill because they are not given insulin, on the other end of the spectrum there are a small number people who die or become seriously ill because hospitals are giving them too much insulin.

“In total, about a third of patients with diabetes experience a medication error during their hospital stay and so it is important that the NHS learn from Mrs Astbury’s tragic case.

"Hospital trusts need to take action to make sure healthcare professionals have proper training in looking after people with diabetes, including promoting the important Think Glucose programme and put in place better systems for ensuring the medication people with diabetes are given is correct. We also need to see sufficient diabetes specialist nurses employed in hospitals, as they play a vital role in making sure inpatients with diabetes get the care they need.”

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