Report reveals that the NHS is failing to check diabetes patients

Posted: 31/10/2013


The Health and Social Care Information Centre has published a report following an audit of 2.5 million people with diabetes in England and Wales which reveals that more than 1.2 million do not have well controlled blood pressure and hundreds of thousands have a similar problem with blood sugar.

Around three million people in the UK are thought to have diabetes, 90% of which are Type 2 patients. The potential complications of diabetes include eye and foot problems, as well as kidney damage. There are eight basic health checks that diabetic patients should be given on the NHS to pick up the signs of these problems as early as possible to improve the prospects of successful treatment. These include body mass index, foot checks, serum creatinine levels, smoking and urine albumen testing but only 43% of patients with Type 1 diabetes and 63% with Type 2 actually received them. Such tests are essential for the healthcare of diabetic patients. For instance, a simple urine check, sometimes followed by a blood test, can pick up early signs of kidney damage and hopefully slow its progression.

Diabetes patients are given targets for blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol to lower the risk of life-threatening complications such as heart attacks and stroke but, according to The Daily Telegraph, just 19% of patients are meeting all three targets.

Lucie Prothero, associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, commented: “This report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre provides some worrying statistics that the millions of diabetes sufferers in this country are not getting the care they need. It is essential that diabetes is managed properly and kept under control. We see cases of mismanagement of diabetic patients which sometimes sadly ending in blindness, limb amputation or kidney failure. Regular health checks carried out at the grassroots level in GP surgeries are crucial to ensure diabetic patients receive proper care. For instance, the audit highlights the scope for reducing stroke and heart disease in diabetic patients by simply achieving the blood pressure targets.

“The seriousness of diabetes must not be underestimated and health professionals need to be ultra-vigilant when treating diabetics to ensure that they do not suffer unnecessarily. We wholeheartedly support the campaigning being done by Diabetes UK to highlight the current shortfall in the care being provided.”


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