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Good diabetes care in Scotland despite challenges

A new report into diabetes care in Scotland shows that services have improved over the past four years.

However, the patient experience of services continues to ask some challenging questions.

'Diabetes: National Overview Follow-up Report'  has been published jointly by Diabetes UK Scotland and NHS Quality Improvement Scotland (NHS QIS) and updates the review of services which was published in 2004.

In addition, a specific review of patient experience of care, which was carried out by Diabetes UK Scotland, is included in the report.

Patient perspective

NHS QIS review teams, including members of the public, visited every NHS board to assess their progress since they were first reviewed against the national standards for diabetes in 2003. At the same time, NHS QIS worked in partnership with Diabetes UK Scotland to capture the patient perspective on the experience of care through a series of surveys and focus groups.

Innovative healthcare

Sir Graham Teasdale, Chairman of NHS QIS, said: “Scotland has a track record of innovative and groundbreaking healthcare in diabetes. We were the first UK country to introduce an electronic shared record that collects data in real time and we were one of the first countries in the world to introduce a national screening programme to tackle diabetes-related blindness.

"Now we are the first UK country to introduce and monitor performance against national clinical standards for diabetes, not just once but with a follow-up review across Scotland as well."

Investment in resources

He added: “We found that the hard work of staff and the investment in resources are paying off with every NHS board showing improved performance against the standards, some significantly. In particular, the standard of clinical care is more consistent than it has been in the past and is generally of a very high standard.

"The challenge now is to see the last stages of implementation of the shared record through to completion and to ensure that the high standard of care is applied even consistently.”

Audrey Birt, Director of Diabetes UK Scotland, said: "It is important that we recognise the hard work and dedication of NHS staff that support people with diabetes. Year on year, improvements to services are being made and we want this to continue. However, we also need to understand that, underneath the headline figures, patient experiences of services can pose some challenges.

Richer understanding

"This is an important report as it brings the two elements together and allows us to develop a richer understanding of the interaction between patients and services across Scotland."

The report was launched at an event at the Glasgow Science Centre on the eve of the Diabetes UK Annual Professional Conference.

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