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Diabetes patients dying prematurely

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Some 24,000 people die prematurely every year in England because their diabetes has not been managed effectively, according to a Public Accounts Committee report.

Its report on diabetes care criticises the NHS for failing to deliver recommended standards or achieve treatment targets. Barely half of diabetes patients receive the nine basic checks they need to manage their condition and fewer than one in five have the recommended levels of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, leaving a high number at risk of developing complications, or requiring hospital admission, impacting on NHS costs.

The report criticised NHS accountability structures for failing to hold commissioners of diabetes services to account for poor performance.

Meanwhile, Professor Alan Sinclair, director of the Institute of Diabetes for Older People, called for urgent support for the 'silent minority' in care homes to avoid unnecessary suffering and even premature deaths. More than a quarter of care home residents already have diabetes, which can be more difficult to manage in older people because of other linked disorders or diseases and their treatments.

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