Patients await diabetes strategy

The government will publish its long-awaited strategy for improving the care of patients with diabetes later on Thursday.

The National Service Framework for Diabetes will spell out national minimum standards of care for people with the condition.

It will also include guidelines for doctors, nurses and other health professionals for improving the management of care.

This is the second part of the NSF. The first part, published in 2001, included pledges to improve care particularly for children and young people with the condition.

The NSF will be unveiled by Health Secretary Alan Milburn and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in London on Thursday morning.

Hormone disorder
Diabetes is a hormone disorder, which comes in two types. Type 1 destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce the hormone insulin, which sufferers then need to replace to control their blood sugars.

Type 2, or non-insulin dependent diabetes is the most common form of the disease, usually occurring in people who are over the age of 45 and overweight.

Sufferers either do not make enough insulin, or are unable to make proper use of it, leading to a build-up of sugar in the cells which causes health problems.

Around 1.3m people in England are affected by the condition which, if not properly treated, can lead to complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and foot problems that may lead to amputation.

And diabetes is estimated to account for 10% of NHS hospital resources.

The charity Diabetes UK has called for a radical overhaul of services for patients with the condition.

Paul Streets, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said he hoped the NSF will help to improve medical care for people with the condition across England.

“Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK. At the moment too many people with diabetes are being failed by the health services.

“Our hope is that the long awaited Diabetes National Service Framework for England will deliver the care people need to all those who need it.”

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD