This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Increasing levels of diabetes unmatched by specialist nurse provision

Written by: | Published:

Specialist diabetes nurses are needed Specialist diabetes nurses are needed for better care provision

Urgent action must be taken to recruit more diabetes specialist nurses, according to research by Diabetes UK.

The charity conducted a survey of diabetes specialist nurses and 78% raised concerns that their workload was impacting on patient care and/or safety and almost four in 10 respondents considered their current caseload 'unmanageable'.

The survey also found that there is a mismatch between the number of diabetes specialist nurses and the soaring rates of people with diabetes. The number of people living with diabetes in the UK has increased by 72% in little over a decade and has now reached over 4.5 million. However, almost a third of respondents said that there have been cuts to diabetes specialist nursing posts in their team over the past two years. Almost one in four (23%) report downgrades to posts in their team over the last two years.

'Nurses in this field are diminishing as the population of people with diabetes escalates. The maths is simple, but no one is doing the maths,' said one diabetes specialist nurse who responded to the survey.

Diabetes UK is calling for a national workforce strategy, as well as local action, to ensure there are appropriately skilled nurses to meet the demand across both primary and secondary care.

Bridget Turner, director of policy and care improvement at Diabetes UK, said: 'Evidence shows that diabetes specialist nurses reduce length of stay in hospital, improve patient satisfaction and are cost effective. But as they are relatively more expensive than non-specialist staff, they are vulnerable to cost-cutting measures in times of austerity.'

The charity also highlighted the need to develop a national accreditation framework and job description for diabetes specialist nurses, to ensure consistency in the role across the UK and enable progression from entry-level specialist through to senior specialist roles.

The survey revealed that many diabetes services are relying on the goodwill of nurses with one respondent saying 'caseload and workload has increased but time given to do this has not, so I work a lotof unpaid hours to be able to complete core work.' Nurses reported feelng concerned that they may make mistakes as the workload is so high.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


there also needs to be recognition of the fact there are more older people with cognitive impairment living in the community who need District Nursing service support to manage their condition. the pressures of increasing workload on DN services means they are struggling to cope with the numbers of diabetic patients requiring support and they have little or no time to work with diabetics to support and improve their condition management and to maintain their independence.
Posted by: ,

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.