Healthcare for diabetic children in the UK below standard

by Barbara Hewitt on March 14, 2013

Learning issues due to obesity and diabetes during pregnancy

Healthcare for diabetic children in the UK below standard

Young adults with type 1 diabetes in the UK are much more likely to die than their peers because they are not getting the healthcare they need to manage their condition, it is claimed. In particular young women with type 1 diabetes are nine times more likely to die than their peers and young men four times more likely. This is probably because many of them have not had the care needed to give them the best chance of a long and healthy life, according to charity Diabetes UK.

It says that the lack of good quality healthcare is reflected in the fact that 85% of children with type 1 diabetes have poor blood glucose control which puts them at significantly increased risk of devastating health complications later in life. Just 15% of children with the condition have HbA1c levels, the standard measurement for blood glucose, of under 7.5%, compared to the 34% of children achieving this in comparable countries such as Germany and Austria.

The charity has launched a new guide, type 1 essentials for children and young people, that sets out the 10 things that every child with type 1 diabetes needs. It is calling on National Health Service management to make sure the resources are in place so that children with type 1 diabetes have access to this care, and for healthcare professionals to make sure their patients are getting good quality care.

Parents of children with type 1 diabetes can also use the checklist when discussing care with healthcare professionals, to ensure that their child is receiving the care that he or she should. ‘The fact that so many people with type 1 diabetes are doing less well than they should is at least partly the consequence of the quality of healthcare for children with the condition,’ said Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

Quote from DiabetesForum.com : “There was a 78 percent reduction in deaths associated with diabetes among children under 10. There was a 52 percent reduction in deaths associated with diabetes among children ages 10 to 19.”

‘Our type 1 essentials for children and young people sets out the care every child with type 1 diabetes should be getting but many children do not get this care. There is no good reason why we should be lagging so far behind countries such as Germany in terms of management of the condition, but the stark truth is that the UK fails to deliver good quality healthcare for children with type 1 diabetes,’ she explained.

‘By publishing our guide to what good care looks like, we hope the NHS will ensure that services are commissioned and organised to give every child with type 1 diabetes the quality of healthcare they deserve. We want parents and healthcare professionals to understand what good care is so they can play their part in making sure it is delivered,’ she added.

The charity believes that no family should struggle to get good care. ‘Children with type 1 diabetes have been let down by poor healthcare for too long. By making sure every child gets 10 out of 10, we can give every child with the condition the best possible chance of a long and healthy life,’ said Young.

Amelia Lily, pop star and children’s ambassador for Diabetes UK, is backing the campaign. ‘As someone who has type 1 diabetes myself, I know that no family should have to struggle to get the good care their child deserves. But that’s what thousands of families with children with type 1 diabetes have to do year in, year out,’ she said.

‘I’m supporting Diabetes UK’s campaign because I’m passionate about putting an end to poor care so that children and young people with type 1 diabetes can achieve the best possible start in life. Good care for children is so important because it puts you on the road to helping you manage your condition for the rest of your life and helps reduce the risk of developing serious complications, or even dying before your time,’ she explained. ‘Living with type 1 diabetes is hard enough. It’s vital that good healthcare is in place so that children with the condition can get on with enjoying their childhood,’ she added.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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