Poor education fuels complications
Poor delivery of life-changing education to people with diabetes is fuelling serious diabetes complications, according to a new report.
Diabetes UK’s State of the Nation document also reveals that in 2014-2015 only 2 per cent of people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales attended an education course about the condition.
The findings also suggested that 6 per cent of people who were diagnosed with type 2 across the same period of time attended a class which teaches participants how to effectively manage their condition.
This is why it is essential that everyone with diabetes has a chance to learn about how to manage their condition well.
Diabetes UK said the figures are concerning because poorly managed diabetes increases people’s risk of debilitating and life-threatening complications such as heart attacks, amputations and stroke.
Chris Askew, Diabetes UK’s chief executive, said: “Diabetes is a very serious and complex health condition that requires constant self-management.
“This can be extremely overwhelming, yet people with diabetes may only see their GPs and nurses a few times year, and if they fail to manage their diabetes effectively the results can be devastating.
“This is why it is essential that everyone with diabetes has a chance to learn about how to manage their condition well.
“In some areas thousands of people with diabetes have attended education courses that give them the confidence and skills to take control of their condition. They can be life-saving. So it is galling that in most places these courses have reached a fraction of those who could benefit.”
The complications are also costly to the NHS, which already spends £10 billion every year on diabetes, which equates to 10 per cent of its entire budget.
The report also finds that just 41 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes and 19 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes in England and Wales are meeting their targets for blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol.
These are essential in keeping themselves well and reducing risk of complications.
Diabetes UK said the figures highlight there is a real need to ensure people with both conditions have access to education courses.
The charity is calling for improvements to the delivery of diabetes education courses so that at least half of people with diabetes receive education over the next five years.
This will help ensure that everyone living with diabetes has the skills and confidence to manage their condition effectively and so reduce their risk of serious complications.
The charity has welcomed NHS England’s new ratings system which will see clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) being assessed on the numbers of people with diabetes achieving recommended treatment targets and the numbers of people newly diagnosed with diabetes attending an education course.
Mr Askew added: “The new NHS ratings system for diabetes will help to drive improvements and reduce variation in access to education so it is essential that health leaders give it full priority.
“Diabetes is the fastest-growing health threat facing our nation and if we don’t get better at supporting people with diabetes to stay healthy we will continue to see high rates of debilitating complications and early death for many people with the condition as well as rising costs to the NHS.”