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'No improvement' in aspects of diabetes care

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Foot checks are one of the nine care processes Foot checks are one of the nine care processes

There has been little progress in the delivery of recommended care processes and other aspects of diabetes care since 2012, a report by the National Audit Office has found.

The report, which looked at the provision of diabetes care in 2013-2014, found that 59% of patients were given all nine of the recommended processes for diabetes health checks. This is a similar level as the rates found in 2009-2010, with the report stating that there has been no improvement. ‘This has serious implications as people who are not getting their annual checks and are not being supported to reach their treatment targets are, as a result, put at increased risk of developing serious diabetes-related complications, such as amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and stroke,’ said Chris Askew, Diabetes UK’s chief executive.

The report identified significant variations across England in delivering the care processes, achieving treatment standards and improving outcomes for diabetes patients. Across CCGs the percentage of people with diabetes receiving all nine of the recommended care processes apart from eye screening, ranged from 30% to 76% in 2012-13. Additionally, the risk of death in people with diabetes within a one-year follow-up period, ranged from 10% to 65%. ‘Complications have a devastating impact on people’s lives and are also fuelling the 22,000 early deaths we are seeing in people with diabetes each year,’ Mr Askew added.

Not enough newly-diagnosed patients are being offered structure education on their condition, and even fewer are taking up courses when offered, according to the report. While the number of people who offered the courses and attend them is improving, the rates were only 16% and 4% respectively. Mr Askew said: ‘The NHS spends 10% of its entire budget managing diabetes, and unless we get better at supporting people with diabetes to stay healthy, by providing quality care across the board, this figure will rise to unsustainable levels, placing an even more immense burden on our health service.’

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