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Government acknowledges need for diabetes care improvements

The Government has responded to the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) report on diabetes healthcare, recognising the need for improvements to be made. However, the response, issued yesterday by the Treasury, has been branded "disappointing" by Diabetes UK.

In November 2012, the PAC described progress in delivering recommended care standards as "depressingly poor", and made a number of recommendations to ensure that treatment targets are met.

Public awareness campaign rejected

The Government has accepted many of these recommendations, and has stated that, by 2018, 80 per cent of people with diabetes should be getting their nine basic health checks. In the same timeframe, 40 per cent of people with diabetes should be achieving the recommended levels for blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.

However, the Government rejected the need for a dedicated public diabetes awareness campaign – and Diabetes UK believes that the proposed targets do not go far enough.

Disappointing response

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said, "Two weeks after the Secretary of State for Health said it was ‘shocking’ that just half of people with diabetes get their basic checks, we are saddened and disappointed by the Government’s response.

Urgency "not reflected"

"While we welcome the fact that the Government has largely accepted the damning conclusions of the Public Accounts Committee’s report and has identified some targets for what needs to happen, it is unclear how this improvement will be achieved. Another five years to deliver modest improvements in the quality of care that people with diabetes receive does not reflect the urgency and priority of this, one of the biggest health challenges of our time.

Public campaign needed

"We are also disappointed that the Government has ruled out a public campaign to stem the rising tide of diabetes. Given the rapid rise in the number of people with Type 2 diabetes, this kind of campaign from which heart disease, stroke and the cancers have benefited, is badly needed. Why not for diabetes, which is now four times more prevalent than all the cancers combined?

Action for Diabetes

"The cancellation of the NHS Diabetes dedicated improvement service seems to contradict any statement of commitment by the Government. We hope the forthcoming Action for Diabetes document will set out the plan for what will be delivered, but worry that there is no commitment by the NHS Commissioning Board to implement it and take action to eradicate the unacceptable variations in care that have existed for years."

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