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Children with diabetes face major health risks

Thousands of children and young people with diabetes are at risk of sight loss, kidney failure and heart problems because their condition is dangerously out of control, says a report from The NHS Information Centre today.

Nearly three out of ten children and young people with diabetes in England and Wales have high risk blood sugar levels that, according to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), seriously threatens future health and should attract extra resources for care.

The number is a slight decrease on the previous year. However, it remains a significant cause for concern because the measure indicates the number of children and young people who are likely to face major health complications in the future.

The National Diabetes Audit (NDA) is carried out by The NHS Information Centre on behalf of the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership to encourage consistent standards of care across the country and to monitor the care and help given to people with diabetes.

Overall, the report shows that the care of people with diabetes is improving with more people having the key tests and measurements they need to help keep their diabetes under control.

However, the report also shows that substantial numbers of children and young people with the condition are failing to get the care they need and as a result face serious health consequences.

Consultant Diabetologist Dr Bob Young, The NHS Information Centre’s Clinical Lead for the National Diabetes Information Service (NDIS), said: “The report shows that care for both adults and children with diabetes is improving with more of them receiving key checks such as blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol tests and, for adults, foot examinations.

“However, it remains a cause for concern that so many people with diabetes are still not receiving the full range of checks they should be undergoing each year. In addition, the substantial increase in the number of people treated for diabetic kidney failure is something that health providers need to scrutinise and understand at local level. If the increase has happened in their area, they need to understand the reasons why and look into ways of reducing it."

NHS Information Centre