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Making Hospitals Safe: Four years on

Gathering insights

In 2018, we worked with dedicated healthcare professionals, organisations and people living with diabetes to develop ‘Making hospitals safe for people living with diabetes’. It set out 25 key recommendations for what needs to be in place in acute hospitals across England to make sure people with diabetes are safe in hospital. The report helped diabetes inpatient teams make the case for change and improvement to their diabetes services.

In April 2022, we asked inpatient diabetes clinicians across the UK to take part in a survey based on the 25-point checklist, to understand which areas of diabetes inpatient care had improved. This also helped us identify areas that need more support and attention, and gave inpatient teams the opportunity to reflect on the recommendations and use it to help inform any action planning for their service.    

Our findings

We received a total of 22 responses from diabetes inpatient teams. Overall, all the recommendations – except one which remained the same – showed some degree of improvement from 2018 to 2022. This is a considerable achievement in the face of incredible pressures and redeployment faced by diabetes services during the pandemic.

Results from the survey also showed us:

  • There is significant variation in diabetes inpatient care in NHS Hospitals across the UK
  • Electronic systems/technology, perioperative care and diabetes education continue to be key areas of focus and need
  • Nurses are often the first point of care for people with diabetes in hospital and have a high degree of responsibility in the management of diabetes   
  • Staff training in diabetes needs to be more consistent and spread across different hospital roles in order to build capacity in the workforce. HCPs in other specialties need to feel confident in caring for people with diabetes and alleviate pressure on the diabetes specialist team
  • Undergraduate training in diabetes has seen relatively little improvement and needs attention at a policy and government level

Read the full report: Making Hospitals Safe: Four Years On  (July 2022), PDF, 2MB

What next?

The survey has provided us with interesting insights into the challenges faced by hospitals delivering diabetes care. We are already collaborating with The Royal College of Physicians to address the variation in care through our new Diabetes Care Accreditation Programme. We also work closely with our Regional, Policy and National Diabetes Audit teams to review the latest data and identify levers for change.

We know that results from this survey are just the tip of the iceberg. To address the complex challenges of improving care, we will be working with hospitals and healthcare professionals using a systems-based approach. Systems thinking takes into account the broad context and complexity of patient care across the healthcare system which will support the development of more effective and sustainable solutions. By working with hospitals in this meaningful and targeted way, we can have more impact for people living with diabetes

In 2018, the release of ‘Making hospitals safe’ shone a much-needed spotlight on diabetes inpatient care and created momentum in the field. We will continue to capitalise on this momentum and work in better ways to improve hospital care for people with diabetes across the UK. 

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more about the survey or want to get involved in our systems work, please email:


Sanofi have partnered with Diabetes UK and provided funding for our inpatient care work which includes the survey. There was no involvement or influence in its conceptualisation or delivery.

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