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Diabetes UK criticises "lost year" of diabetes healthcare

Diabetes UK has branded 2012 a "lost year" for diabetes healthcare after a new survey suggested there has been almost no improvement to people’s standard of care over the past 12 months.

Of the 6,310 people who took part in the survey, 85 per cent said their healthcare had either stayed the same or worsened over the last year, while just 11 per cent said it had improved.

Lack of improvement

We are disappointed by this lack of improvement, given that there is now widespread agreement from organisations such as the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee that diabetes healthcare is not good enough.

This failure to deliver significant improvements means 2012 has been a missed opportunity to reduce the risk of complications of diabetes, and ultimately to reduce the number of people with the condition who die early.

Some good news

There was some good news in the survey, with 79 per cent of respondents saying they had had a leg and foot check in the past year, which represents a rise of four percentage points on last year. However, there were also small, but not statistically significant, decreases in the number of people having an individualised care plan developed with their healthcare professional or seeing someone from a diabetes specialist team when they were admitted to hospital.

Missed opportunity

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said, "A year ago, the Department of Health responded to criticism of diabetes healthcare by telling the NHS to improve the service it is offering people with the condition. But this survey shows that people with diabetes are not noticing things getting better, and this means 2012 has been a lost year and a missed opportunity to make the kind of changes that are so badly needed.

Basic levels of care

"The fact that so many people are not getting a basic level of care is really worrying, as this care is vital for ensuring people with diabetes have the best chance of living a long and healthy life. Every year that someone receives substandard healthcare could increase their risk of developing devastating health complications such as heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney failure and blindness.

A long way to go

"It is true that there are some positive signs in this survey, such as the increase in the proportion of people getting an annual foot check, which can help prevent amputations by identifying problems at an early stage. But looked at as a whole, it is clear that we are still a long way from consistently delivering good-quality, integrated healthcare.

National priority

"This clearly shows that the Government needs to make diabetes a national priority and to insist that 2013 is the year when people with diabetes really start to notice their healthcare improving. It is only by doing this that we will finally start to see the tragically high levels of diabetes-related complications and early death start to fall."

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