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New mandatory paediatric diabetes care standards introduced

Every child and young person with diabetes in England can expect an improvement in their level of care from today, as a landmark funding agreement for paediatric diabetes services comes in to force.

Set by leading paediatric doctors, nurses and commissioners, and working in partnership with NHS Diabetes, the ‘Best Practice Tariff for Paediatric Diabetes’ sets out 13 mandatory care standards for paediatric diabetes service teams to meet.

Greater funding for providers that reach required level of care

Providers who can prove they meet these levels of care will qualify for greater funding. Local services unable to achieve these standards will be supported to improve but face having their funding withdrawn if unable to reach the required level by April 2013.

Improving healthcare for children with diabetes

Barbara Young, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said, "We are really pleased by this news because we are hopeful that by giving incentives for providing excellent health services, it could help drive the improvements in healthcare that children with diabetes badly need. Urgent improvements are needed because the UK is currently one of the worst-performing countries in Europe in terms of blood glucose levels for children with diabetes.

"It is disappointing that new technology such as insulin pumps is not included. This is a concern because we know that for some children these pumps are extremely useful in helping to manage blood glucose levels, and many do not currently have the option to use them.

"We are also concerned that the standards only apply to the care of those aged under 19 and do not include guidance on preparing young people with diabetes for their move to adult services. This is a problem because we know that too many young people are already falling into the gap between services. The NHS needs to make sure that the new standards’ focus on those under 19, does not ignore the need for a continued level of care throughout this transition between child to adult services."

Calling on healthcare professionals to ensure good practice

NHS Diabetes is calling on all healthcare professionals involved in the support and care of children and young people with diabetes to join theirpaediatric diabetes networkto ensure sharing of good practice, up-to-date guidance and education tools.

For more information about the Best Practice Tariff and how to join the NHS Diabetes paediatric diabetes network, email Marie Cummins,marie.cummins@diabetes.nhs.uk

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