I have backed a call by Diabetes UK for local action to improve the delivery of life-changing education for people with diabetes. Evidence shows that going on a diabetes education course can help people manage their condition more effectively and reduce their risk of developing devastating complications, enabling them to live a long and healthy life.

I attended Diabetes UK’s parliamentary launch of its State of the Nation 2016 report, which has highlighted that the vast majority of people with diabetes are not getting access to an education course to give them the tools they need to effectively manage their condition.

The report found that in 2014-2015 only 2 per cent of people newly diagnosed with Type 1 and 6 per cent of people newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes were recorded as attending a diabetes education course. Diabetes UK say this is a huge cause for concern as people with diabetes only spend around three hours with a healthcare professional every year and for the remaining 8,757 hours they must manage their diabetes, which is a serious and complex condition, by themselves.

Diabetes UK is urging clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to put in place an action plan to improve take up of diabetes education for people living with diabetes in their communities and ensure people are supported to manage their condition effectively.

Diabetes UK’s State of the Nation report shows that many people with diabetes are still not getting the support they need to help them manage their condition. This is leading to thousands of people with the condition developing life threatening health complications such as blindness and amputations. This is not only personally devastating to those affected but is also leading to huge costs to the NHS.

Action is needed so that all people with diabetes can have access to education as well as their key health checks. This is why I will be writing to NHS health leaders in my area asking them to commit to ensuring more people are attending education courses.

Robin Hewings, Diabetes UK Head of Policy, said: “We are pleased to have Paul Scully MP’s support on what is a very important issue. The poor state of diabetes education is fuelling a health crisis that if left unchecked threatens to bankrupt the NHS. Ten per cent of the NHS budget is spent on diabetes, but about 80 per cent of that is spent treating complications such as blindness, amputation and stroke. Not enough is being invested in good healthcare which could prevent these complications in the first place. Our State of the Nation report shows that with better integrated services and support to enable people to self-manage their condition, the NHS can save lives and money.

We are encouraged by the inclusion of diabetes care in the forthcoming CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework (CCG IAF) and we are calling for local clinical commissioning groups to implement these measures as a matter of urgency. With the right support in place, people with diabetes can lead long, healthy lives.”

The State of the Nation report can be downloaded at www.diabetes.org.uk.

You can support Diabetes UK’s State of the Nation report by clicking the following link and calling for local decision makers to provide more access to diabetes education.

Takeda UK Ltd has financially supported the production of the State of the Nation report; it has had no input into its development or content.