Diabetes care for children is getting better, but this improvement needs to happen faster. Better commissioned paediatric services are required.
The National Paediatric Diabetes Audit published at the end of 2013 revealed that a quarter of children with diabetes have blood glucose levels so high that they are at a significantly increased risk of health complications, such as blindness or amputation, later in life.
While the audit suggests improvement in the quality of healthcare for children with Type 1 diabetes, the pace is unacceptably slow. Still just 7% of children with the condition are receiving the care they need.
The Best Practice Tariff, which offers financial incentives for services that deliver good diabetes care for children, is aimed at promoting further improvement. But Diabetes UK believes that the key to life-changing improvement is access to good quality support. In practice, this means having enough paediatric diabetes specialist nurses available and for parents of children with Type 1 diabetes to have access to round the clock expert telephone advice. This level of support gives families the proper tools to take control of their child's diabetes and help avoid the high blood glucose levels associated with complications and early death.
The report's figures show just how important it is that urgent action is taken to make sure children with diabetes get the care, treatment and support they need.
All primary care nurses need to know the basics of Type 1 diabetes, although paediatric diabetes is a specialist area of care. A great tool for nurses and families is the Type 1 essentials, which set out the care every child should be getting, at http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Get_involved/Campaigning/Type-1-essentials/
It is by studying and adopting best practice that there can be better care for all. We hope you will join Diabetes UK's Primary Care Network at www.diabetes.org.uk/Professionals/Primary-Care-Net... to be kept abreast of issues.