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Call for swift progress on diabetes education

Take-up of specialist diabetes education is ‘nowhere near good enough’ in Wales and swift government action is required to boost participation.


That’s the message from Welsh Conservatives, who’ve urged Labour ministers to ensure health boards are doing all they can to encourage patients to take part.


The call comes as Diabetes UK releases new figures showing a 60 per cent rise in the number of cases in the past 10 years.


According to information recently published by the charity, just 3.4 per cent of people with Type 1 diabetes - and 1.2 per cent with Type 2 – were recorded as attending structured educational programmes in 2014.


The Welsh government’s targets are 10 per cent in both cases.


That’s despite the huge potential for the schemes to provide patients with the knowledge, skills and motivation to effectively self-manage.


Individual health board performance for both Type 1 and Type 2 structured education varies greatly, with only Cwm Taf hitting the 10 per cent target:



Abertawe Bro Morgannwg: 3.3% (Type 1)     1.8% (Type 2)


Aneurin Bevan: 2.6% (Type 1)           2.0% (Type 2)


Betsi Cadwaladr: 2.1% (Type 1)         0.0% (Type 2)


Cardiff & Vale: 0.0 % (Type 1)           2.3% (Type 2)


Cwm Taf: 11.0% (Type 1)      1.0% (Type 2)


Hywel Dda: 0.0% (Type 1)     1.0% (Type 2)


Powys: 4.5% (Type 1)                        0.1% (Type 2)


England average: 3.4%


Wales average: 1.2%


(source: Diabetes UK)



The Assembly’s Health and Social Care committee recently called on the government to urgently address those variances and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommends people with diabetes are offered patient education programmes, both around the time of diagnosis and on a regular basis afterwards.



Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister, Darren Millar AM, said:


“Not only is the Labour government miles away from hitting its target, it’s performing only a third as well as England.


“That’s a stark contrast that requires urgent attention, a strategy for immediate improvement and a guarantee that take-up will be significantly boosted this year.


“There is absolutely no reason why fewer people should be improving their self-management in Wales, than England.


“Improving diabetes prevention is crucial right across the UK, as is swiftly increasing the number of people accessing support. For an ever-increasing number of people living with diabetes, the impact of education upon quality of life cannot be overstated.


“There is real potential for the Welsh government to work with clinicians, charities and patients to improve workforce provision and ensure participation within the appropriate programmes.”