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Is Government to Blame for Nation’s Poor Diabetes Control?

Diabetic wellness is at a major risk unless the government makes improving healthcare for people whose wellbeing is affected with the disease a priority. This is according to Diabetes UK, whose latest figures show that only one in five people in England and Wales are reaching the targets for keeping their diabetes under control.

The National Diabetes Audit statistics reveal that just 18.5% of diabetics in Wales, and 19.9% of people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in England, meet the recommended targets for blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol. When those figures are broken down by type of diabetes, English Type 1 diabetics have demonstrated particularly bad control of their condition, with just 11.4% meeting treatment targets.

the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that, every year, patients with diabetes are supposed to get nine health checks; weight and body mass index (BMI) measurements, blood pressure, whether you smoke, blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels, eye check, foot check and two different checks to measure kidney function. Diabetes UK says that, as it stands, just 54% of patients in England are receiving these health checks.

According to Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, ‘Given that diabetes is serious, and can lead to early death if people with diabetes are not supported to manage their condition, it is extremely worrying that so few people have it under control. There are now three million people diagnosed with diabetes, and this number is rising quickly. The fact that so many of them do not have good control over their diabetes means that unless something changes we face a public health disaster. Whether these people have high blood glucose levels, blood pressure or cholesterol, they are at increased risk of diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, amputation and stroke.’

A Department of Health spokesperson responded by saying, ‘We are determined to improve NHS services across the country for people with diabetes and end the unacceptable variation in care that still exists. We have set clear objectives for the NHS to improve the care and management of people with diabetes and we will be monitoring NHS England to make sure this is delivered.’ He added that over 98% of people were offered retinal screening in 2012 and 750,000 more people had all nine care processes checked in 2010-11 compared with 2006-7.

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