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Diabetes Care Accreditation Programme

Diabetes Care Accreditation Programme (DCAP), first of its kind in diabetes, aims to improve inpatient care by setting quality standards and measuring how services perform against these. 

The programme is open to hospitals across the UK - we strongly recommend that services from all the nations sign up. By joining DCAP healthcare services will be supported to embed quality improvement in everyday practice and improve service delivery and quality of care for people living with diabetes.

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Inpatient diabetes care is not universally standardised and historically there has been no mechanism to quality assure the service that is delivered to people with diabetes in hospital. 

DCAP has a set of standards with all the requirements for a high-quality inpatient diabetes service and include areas like leadership, clinical care, training, auditing, and staffing. DCAP will support hospitals to meet the standards, make the case for change and raise the overall quality of inpatient care for people living with diabetes.  

The Royal College of Physicians' Accreditation Unit have partnered with Diabetes UK to develop and deliver the programme. 

The standards  

We’ve engaged a range of stakeholders across the UK, including nurses, consultants, pharmacists, podiatrists, dietitians, and people living with diabetes to help us develop and review the standards. 

The accreditation standards combine and consolidate recommendations from the Diabetes UK Making Hospitals Safe report, National Diabetes Inpatient Audit, Getting it Right First Time and Joint British Diabetes Societies for Inpatient Care (JBDS-IP) guidelines. They cover all the aspects of high-quality diabetes inpatient care.   

The pilot  

We launched a pilot programme in April 2022 to test the proposed accreditation pathway. Nine participating sites in the East of England and six in Wales took part in the pilot.  

We used the learnings and challenges from the pilot to inform and adapt the final programme. This includes things like developing detailed guidance documents to help services produce and collate the evidence they need for each standard.    

Summary of key learnings and adaptations: 

  • Participating pilot sites found the process really helpful and have used the pilot programme as a springboard for making improvements and the case for change in their hospitals. 

  • The standards have been updated by separating the clinical and operational processes to provide clarity and opportunity for teams to allocate areas of the standards to staff members best placed to complete.

  • An assessment of staffing will be a key part of the accreditation process, to ensure diabetes teams have access to the specialist expertise required to safely manage the complex needs of people with diabetes in hospital.

  • Local diabetes teams are keen to provide high-quality care and develop their service. Demonstrating good lines of communication with senior management teams has now become an important element within the standards.

  • One of the key aims of DCAP will be to automate data collection and allow for routine reports to be produced digitally.

Read the full DCAP pilot progress report for more information about the accreditation process, findings from the pilot and plans for the future. 

DCAP will help us make a transformational impact on improving inpatient care and creating the change people living with diabetes need and deserve.  


Want to learn more about DCAP?  
Register an interest for your service. 
Apply to be a DCAP assessor.  

Visit the RCP DCAP website to find out more and start your accreditation journey today.

Last updated March 2024. 

The pilot programme was supported by funding from Sanofi. There was no involvement or influence in its conceptualisation or delivery. 


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