Diabetes healthcare in England is failing thousands of people with the condition and is leading to devastating complications, premature deaths and an unsustainable rise in costs to the NHS, according to a group of cross-party MPs.
The MPs, members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes (APPGD), are pressing the Government to take urgent action so that all people with diabetes receive the recommended standard of care.
Annual checks missed
In a report by the MPs about the current state of diabetes care, Delivering Better Diabetes Outcomes in the New NHS, they highlight the huge variations in standards of diabetes care across England. Almost half of people with diabetes in England are not getting the nine annual checks recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). Without effective care, people with diabetes are at higher risk of devastating complications such as blindness, amputation and stroke.
National implementation plan
The report recommends a national implementation plan for improved diabetes healthcare "which incorporates prevention, early diagnosis, education for people with diabetes, training for healthcare professionals, integrated care through local diabetes networks and a reduction in the variation in diabetes care". The report also calls for increased government funding into Type 1 diabetes medical research.
The APPGD's critical report follows the publication of the Government’s response to the recent Public Accounts Committee report that highlighted the "depressingly poor" state of diabetes healthcare. But while the Government’s acceptance that the quality of diabetes care is poor has been welcomed, the MPs are now calling on the Government to spell out how they intend to make diabetes a priority.
"Poor, patchy and expensive"
Adrian Sanders, Torbay MP and Chair of the APPGD, said, "Diabetes is one of the greatest challenges we face, yet diabetes healthcare is poor, patchy and expensive, and too many people with the condition are not getting the care or support they desperately need.
"It is completely unacceptable that barely half of people with diabetes are getting the nine checks and services recommended by NICE. This postcode lottery of care is leading to devastating health conditions and premature death for many people with the condition.
Government must spell out intentions
"While we welcome the Government’s acceptance that care for people with diabetes is poor and must improve, we now need the Government to spell out exactly how they intend to make diabetes a priority so that everyone with diabetes receives the care and support they need. Unless this happens, thousands more people a year will be condemned to entirely avoidable debilitating complications and early death."
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said, "Time and time again we hear about the depressingly poor state of diabetes healthcare, yet we are still waiting to hear how the Government intends to deal with what is fast becoming a crisis. The Government must designate diabetes as a priority and commit to ensuring everyone with diabetes gets good-quality care so that they can live long, healthy lives. This is why we welcome the APPGD’s call for a national implementation plan for improved diabetes care."
Diabetes UK and JDRF jointly provide the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes.