There are 3.2 million people that have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, and an estimated 630,000 who have the condition but remain undiagnosed.
The role of the diabetes specialist nurse (DSN) was first introduced over 60 years ago to educate and support patients and their families to manage the condition. However, recent evidence suggests that the NHS is not recruiting enough DSN's to meet the rapid increase in the condition's prevalence.
Evidence has shown that DSNs are important for delivering good patient care and can save the NHS money by reducing length of hospital stays, facilitating early discharge, reducing hospital admissions and preventing long-term complications. These are costly both in monetary terms and in the impact they have on the quality of patients' lives. Yet, in many areas, DSN posts have been reduced in number and downgraded to lower levels on the pay scale to save money.
As an essential part of the multidisciplinary team, DSNs help to support and educate patients with the condition, as well as other healthcare professionals managing these patients.