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Majority of diabetic children fail to get health checks annually

Nearly three quarters of children with type 1 diabetes are not receiving vital annual health checks, says the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

The National Paediatric Diabetes Audit shows that only 25.4% of 12-year-olds received all seven of the recommended healthcare checks last year.

However the report also shows that more children are achieving “excellent diabetes control” as the proportion increased from 15.8% in 2012-13 to 23.5% in 2014-15.

Dr Justin Warner, clinical lead for the NPDA and member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath, said: “It is extremely rewarding for doctors and patients to see positive results starting to emerge after the time they have spent trying to improve diabetes care for children.

“The rate of improvement seen in England and Wales has exceeded that seen in some other European countries.

However, Warner emphasised the importance of the annual health checks.

“These health checks are important,” said Warner. “They form part of a lifetime of screening for complications which, if recognised early are amenable to interventions that reduce progression.”

The report also found that children with type 1 diabetes are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to the general population, while 11.6% of young people are at increased risk of kidney disease and 13.2% are at increased risk of blindness.

Bridget Turner, Diabetes UK director of policy and care improvement, said: “It is really good news that the numbers of children and young people with diabetes in England and Wales meeting their target blood glucose levels and receiving all of the recommended checks is increasing.

"However, there are still many children and young people with diabetes who are not achieving recommended blood glucose targets, or receiving all the checks they should.

“There remains considerable variation in the level of care provided. This is very worrying because if children and young people are not supported to manage their diabetes well in early life, they are more likely to be at risk of debilitating and life-threatening complications in adult life such as amputations, blindness and stroke.

“This is why it is essential that local services continue on their improvement journey working with and supporting children and young people with type 1 diabetes and their parents and carers, to be fully engaged in their care.”

This was the twelfth annual audit,which looked at data from all 27,682 children and young people with diabetes who attended paediatric diabetes units in England and Wales between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015.