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Children with diabetes receiving substandard care

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Young people with diabetes must be supported Young people with diabetes must be supported

Just 16.1% of young people aged between 12 and 18 with diabetes are receiving all seven annual health checks, a report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has found.

The report, The National Paediatric Diabetes Audit, also found that 27.5% of young people with type 1 diabetes have high blood pressure. Approximately 20% of children aged 0-11 and 25% over the age of 12 with type 1 diabetes are classed as obese.

Large numbers of children in the UK are considered at risk of long-term conditions caused by diabetes. It showed that over 7% of children with diabetes have excess protein in their urine, indicating a high risk of future kidney disease and 14% have early signs of eye disease, which could lead to future blindess.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said: 'We welcome the fact that healthcare for children does seem to be getting better and we recognise that a lot of hard work has gone into making this happen. But the number of children and young people who are not yet getting the care they need is hugely worrying.

'There is evidence that children are experiencing problems with their eyesight or kidneys before they reach their 18th birthday. This is tragic and we have great concerns for their future health if they are already showing signs of complications at such a young age.'

However, the report also discovered encouraging signs. Overall, the percentage of children and young people with 'excellent diabetes control' has improved steadily over the last two years. In 2012/13, 15.8% had excellent control, which rises to 18.4% in 2013/14.

Dr Justin Warner, clinical lead for the report, said: 'On the one hand the picture is positive; the quality of care for children and young people with diabetes is improving and we're ­­getting better at ensuring care processes are met. Yet the challenge we face is also growing, with more children being diagnosed with diabetes and some displaying early signs of potentially serious long-term health problems. This is a lifelong condition where tight overall diabetes control is important to reduce the risk of complications later in life. This requires a close partnership between healthcare professionals delivering care and children and families with diabetes.'

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