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Tick-box attitude won't solve diabetes crisis

A new report launched today in Parliament calls for a shift in healthcare thinking for the sake of patients, but also to ensure that the growing burden of diabetes is addressed before it overwhelms the NHS and before it becomes an even greater burden on the economy.

The report reviews recent NHS reforms, and the manner in which they have been implemented, suggesting that they have been dominated by addressing acute conditions, rather than the growing epidemic of chronic disease.

The MODEL group argues that while diabetes care must be efficient and cost-effective with the projected increase in numbers of people with the disease (diabetes population to increase by 200,000 up to 2.5 million by 2010), society must invest properly in keeping people with diabetes well and preventing the costly complications associated with the disease.

In 2001 the National Service Framework for Diabetes set out 12 standards for diabetes care to be reached by 2013. These included ensuring that patients can effectively manage their disease and that they receive the support necessary to optimise their blood glucose control. However, the Healthcare Commission has recently found that only 11% of people with diabetes in England have been on an education course, and in 2005/6 only 61.8% of patients achieved the target level for blood glucose (an increase of 3% over 2004/5). Compared with the strong progress in tackling cancer in the UK the patient experience of diabetes has not been similarly transformed.

MODEL believes that achieving the NSF standards by 2013 is the minimum that patients should expect, but that without renewed energy, attention and investment they will not be met. Through bringing together a range of stakeholders and arguing for the pursuit of universal excellence the group hopes to play its part in achieving the standard of diabetes care which is essential.