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Poor diabetes healthcare resulting in avoidable complications and deaths, report finds

23 May 2012

A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) on diabetes healthcare for adults in England has found that the poor level of diabetes care is resulting in diabetes complications and deaths that could have been avoided.

The report adds the voice of an authoritative government watchdog to the State of the Nation 2012 report Diabetes UK published earlier this month, which suggested that diabetes healthcare has reached a state of crisis.

24,000 people die from avoidable complications

The new NAO report shows that diabetes costs the NHS a massive amount of money but that the poor healthcare being delivered in exchange for this money is one of the reasons why 24,000 people die from avoidable diabetes complications each year.

Poor performance by the NHS and government inaction has resulted in people with diabetes not getting the healthcare they need, with half of people with the condition not getting the basic checks and services recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

Poor diabetes healthcare

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said, “The fact that the Government’s own value for money watchdog has found that poor diabetes healthcare is resulting in avoidable complications and a high number of avoidable deaths is a damning indictment of the current approach to the condition.

“This report shows that diabetes healthcare in England is not meeting the challenge and that much of the colossal amount of money being spent on it is being wasted. But by using the money we already spend on diabetes more wisely, we could stop 24,000 people dying unnecessarily every year.

“It has been clear for the last 10 years what needs to happen to fix the problem, but the plan the Government published on this has never been implemented. Action is needed now and escalating diabetes costs threaten to wreck the NHS budget so this is an issue that affects all of us, not just people with diabetes.

“We welcome the report’s focus on the need for early intervention. We need better risk assessment and screening for people with Type 2 diabetes and better awareness of symptoms of Type 1. We also agree that everyone with diabetes should be getting the nine basic checks and services that are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The fact that just half of people with diabetes are currently getting the level of care they need is a national disgrace.

“We have been encouraged by how Government has recently acknowledged the dire state of diabetes healthcare. The Government and all the emerging bodies under the new NHS now need to match these words with strong action. As this report makes all too clear, poor levels of healthcare have been allowed to continue for far too long already.”

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