Care for people with diabetes has continued to improve according to a report published today by the Department of Health.
The sixth annual update on progress with diabetes care recognises key achievements made in the last year, including completion of the first survey to establish how many children and young people have diabetes in England.
Six Years On: Delivering the Diabetes National Service Framework updates progress made since the NSF for Diabetes was developed in 2001, setting out national standards of care for people with diabetes.
The survey of children and young people with diabetes undertaken last year was an important project carried out in partnership with the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health, NHS Diabetes Information Service and many other stakeholders.
The survey for the first time provided an accurate figure of 22,947 people under the age of 18 living with diabetes in England, the vast majority of cases being type 1 diabetes. These data are now being used to inform the NHS on how to provide the best services for young people with diabetes.
Commenting on today's report, National Clinical Director for Diabetes, Dr Rowan Hillson, said: "Diabetes is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS today, affecting over 2 million people, with many more undiagnosed.
"This report reflects on the excellent progress being made in treating diabetes in England but there is still more work to be done. In the next year I hope to see more focus on working with patients to help them understand and manage their diabetes more effectively and improve their health."
Another significant change has been the expansion of the former National Diabetes Support Team to create NHS Diabetes. The NHS Diabetes team now has a dedicated regional programme manager in every Strategic Health Authority to support high standards in diabetes care across the NHS.
Some of the areas NHS Diabetes has focused on in its first 12 months are diabetes during pregnancy, and providing best practice guidance for treating people with diabetes while they are in hospital whether this is because of their diabetes or not.
The report also identifies areas where improvement is still needed to help direct diabetes services over the coming years. A key focus will be helping staff from the diabetes multidisciplinary team to work more closely with people with diabetes to help them manage their condition better.
This will be supported by the commitment made to all patients with a long-term health condition to offer them a personal care plan by summer 2010.