06/03/2018

Opportunity Missed To Improve Care For People With Type 2 Diabetes

An opportunity has been missed to improve care for people living with Type 2 diabetes in Northern Ireland, according to a new report.

Progress in implementing a strategic framework for Type 2 diabetes care in Northern Ireland has been very slow, according to the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) report.

A Taskforce had recommended that an updated review of care standards should have been undertaken in 2008, however the Department of Health did not complete it until 2014.

SDLP Health Spokesperson, Mark H Durkan MLA, has called for revenue generated from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to be used in tackling obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.

He said: "We are all well aware of the massive and growing pressures in our health service. The NIAO report estimates an annual cost of £400 million to treat diabetes here, 10 per cent of the local health service budgets. Crucially, it forecasts that this figure could potentially rise to 17 per cent by 2035, if allowed to go unchecked.

"Three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. In order to tackle the obesity epidemic here we need a joined-up approach working on a cross-departmental basis. It is my opinion that the revenue generated through the new 'Sugar Tax', which will come into effect from April this year, should be ring fenced and spent on tackling conditions such as obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
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"The pressures on our health system can only be alleviated by keeping people healthier and reducing their dependency on healthcare. Not enough is spent here on health awareness promotion and preventative measures, but now we have an opportunity to get more to do just that."

Green Party representative Hannah McNamara called for an urgent investment in diabetes services.

She said: "The Comptroller and Auditor General Kieran Donnelly says this was a missed opportunity to slow the growing prevalence of the disease and reduce the numbers of serious complications, including blindness and lower limb amputations.

"Due to the failings of the healthcare service, the prevalence of this dangerous condition has been allowed to increase unchecked and I am sure that there are families reading this report today who will find it hard to understand why more was not done.

"It is particularly worrying that a clinical database of local diabetes patients linking primary and secondary has not been introduced, despite the need having been highlighted back in 2003.

"It is impossible to understand the scale of the problem and to tackle it effectively without the integrated systems that will reveal whether recommended care standards are being delivered. I would urge the Department of Health to place the highest priority on introducing management information systems that can deliver the data that is needed and that are able of generating the information that is needed for full participation in the National Diabetes Audit."

(CD/JP)

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