Children receiving 'flawed' diabetes care
80% of children with diabetes have poor control of condition, study finds
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Wednesday, 24, Jan 2007 12:16
Children are at risk from serious health problems due to weaknesses in diabetes care in the UK, a report has warned today.
The study of nationwide services from the charity Diabetes UK argues that although there have been improvements in some services, such as retinal screening, gaps in care remain in others.
Children are particularly affected by these gaps, for example four out of five children have poor diabetes control putting them at risk of further complications.
As cash-strapped primary care trusts make cuts, the charity warns there has been an increase in the number of children to each Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse (PDSN).
"There is huge scope for improving the treatment and care of people with diabetes and reducing the costs to the health service and to society as a whole," the report states.
Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "We are very concerned that some children are struggling to see a specialist nurse. With the inevitable explosion of children with type two diabetes, additional resources are needed or nurses will be faced with ever increasing caseloads."
Commenting on one aspect of the impact of diabetes services, Tim Statham, chief executive of the National Kidney Federation, said: "We know that a lot of people with diabetes become kidney patients. I think probably about a quarter of diabetes patients are at risk of kidney failure, so I suppose it follows that if you don't treat diabetes effectively then it makes it more likely that they will come to us eventually."
Diabetes UK is now calling for further investment in PDSNs, stronger links between specialist diabetes teams and schools and greater efforts to ensure the transferral of children to adult services is smooth.
Responding to the report, the national clinical director for diabetes, Sue Roberts, said that the government realised diabetes care is "a very important issue" and that guidance would be published next month following a study into it.
"I hope and expect that this will make a real contribution to improving the quality of life and outcomes for children and young people with diabetes, and their families, in England," she added.