Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups are less likely to be aware of diabetes education programmes, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found.
In a new report, My diabetes, my care, the CQC also found that such courses were rarely offered to people with learning disabilities.
The report said that only three out of the 20 people from BME groups interviewed had attended a structured education programme for diabetes.
“Most were unaware of these programmes and had not spoken with a health professional about them,” the report said.
For the report, which looks at experiences of community diabetes care, the CQC talked to people aged between 18 and 65 with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The regulator also spoke with commissioners, providers and staff about how community care is delivered.
It was found that only six clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were offering education programmes in languages other than English.
The report added: “Several CCGs recognised they were not providing courses that were appropriate to their local communities – this was echoed by the people who lived there.”
According to figures from Diabetes UK, people from South Asian and Black communities are two to four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those from white backgrounds.
Meanwhile, people with a learning disability tend to have higher rates of obesity and therefore may be at a greater risk of becoming a type 2 diabetic.
Guidance from NICE states that people who cannot attend group education must be given an alternative of equal standard.
However, the CQC found that there were “no appropriate education programmes for people with a learning disability” in several areas.
More widely, the review found that some people felt they were not receiving enough emotional support, which can contribute to more effective self-management and better engagement with education programmes if that support is given at diagnosis.
CQC’s chief executive, David Behan, said “work is needed” to ensure that everyone can access the right care for their needs.
He said: “With nearly 3.5 million people living with diabetes in England, and predictions that this figure could rise to 4.6 million by 2030, there has never been a more important time for all parts of the health and social care system to address this condition.”
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, added the report emphasises the importance of offering “much better access to diabetes education”.
He added: “The review also shows the necessity of individuals getting personalised care to ensure they get the best possible health outcomes.
We want to see clinical commissioning groups do far more to enable commissioners and healthcare professionals to promote the importance of education for people with the condition and for them to develop more flexible education programmes to help put people with diabetes firmly at the centre of their care.
“Only then will we see a reduction in costly complications, an end to avoidable suffering and early deaths.”