Diabetes care ‘varies hugely’ across England

There is an “unduly healthy picture” of the care patients receive for the condition, according to a new report.

The Department of Health and NHS England paint an “unduly healthy picture” of the state of diabetes services in England, MPs have said.

The Public Accounts Committee said weaknesses in the approach of both organisations – and a lack of focus on preventing long-term complications from the condition – mean “the costs of diabetes to the NHS will continue to rise”.

MPs found that while evidence suggests the UK performs well compared to other countries, there are still “unacceptable variations” in how people with diabetes are able to access education about their condition. Furthermore, only 60 per cent receive the annual checks recommended to keep them healthy and prevent long-term complications.

The report said diabetes specialist staffing levels in hospitals “are not keeping pace” with the increasing percentage of beds occupied by diabetes patients.

It said: “The percentage of beds in acute hospitals in England occupied by people with diabetes continues to rise, from 14.8 per cent in 2010 to 15.7 per cent in 2013.

“However, the level of diabetic specialists has not significantly changed over this period. In 2013, nearly one-third of hospitals in England taking part in the audit had no diabetes inpatient specialist nurse and 6 per cent did not have any consultant time for diabetes inpatient care. “NHS England told us that an increase in nursing numbers isn’t likely in the next year or two.”

Full story in The Independent 22 January 2016