This site is intended for health professionals only

Diabetes services still failing children and young people

A report released by the children and young people with diabetes working group shows that current diabetes care does not meet the needs of children and young people with diabetes leaving them at risk of developing the various complications of the condition. The report calls for a major change in the way services for this specific group are delivered.

The report, Making every young person with diabetes matter, looks into the current standards of children's diabetes services and makes recommendations and guidance in a number of areas including, commissioning, organisation of care, provisional services and workforce. Diabetes UK was one of the organisations that took part in the children and young people with diabetes working group.

The UK has the highest number of children diagnosed with diabetes in Europe but only 25% achieve good diabetes control. There are currently around 25,000 people under 25 who have type 1 in the UK and estimates suggest that up to 1,400 could have type 2 diabetes.

The report shows that more than 25% of young people may require laser treatment for retinopathy, an eye condition that can lead to blindness, and up to 40% will develop microalbumia, which is an early warning of kidney damage.

Recommendations include the need to involve children and young people when designing services as well as taking into account local community needs and encouraging school staff to be more involved in helping young people manage their diabetes.

Simon O'Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy Services at Diabetes UK said: "This report shows that there is a critical need for services to be more targeted around the specific needs of young people with diabetes in order to make the transition between paediatric and adult care smoother. As the prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes continues to increase it is essential that we act now so that young people can reduce their risk of developing the various complications of diabetes in later life."

Diabetes UK also welcomes the fact that to follow up on the report findings, Dr Sheila Shribman, National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Maternity Services, will now be leading an implementation group to ensure the report's recommendations get translated into improvement on the frontline.

The full report can be downloaded on the Department of Health website at