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Diabetes: 24,000 avoidable deaths each year

“The Department of Health has failed to deliver diabetes care to the standard it set out as long ago as 2001. This has resulted in people with diabetes developing avoidable complications, in a high number of preventable deaths and in increased costs for the NHS.”

Amyas Moore, head of the National Audit Office, 23 May 2012

The National Audit Office (NAO) issued a report on May 23rd 2012 which claims that the NHS is failing to meet the recommended standards of care for this widespread illness to the extent that these failures result in an estimated 24,000 avoidable deaths each year from diabetes related causes. They also estimate that the NHS could save as much as £170 million a year if the care and management of diabetes is improved.

What are the recommended standards of care?

There are two important standards for the treatment and monitoring of diabetes as set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and in the 2001 National Service Framework for Diabetes published by the Department of Health.

These recommendations include treatment standards to control blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels and fundamentally a minimum of 9 basic care checks to enable early identification of possible complications arising from the illness. Sadly, the report by NAO suggests that in 2009/2010 as little as 16% of diabetes sufferers met the treatment standards and in some areas only a shocking 6% received all 9 checks.


The complications

If diabetes is not properly managed and checked the chance of developing a related illness or complication increases significantly. This can include things such as blindness, amputation and kidney disease which can ultimately be fatal.

As a diabetes sufferer it is important that you are aware of the standard of care you should be receiving and that you try and fight to get proper management. We also recommend that you keep a record of the checks you have and the results of blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol so that this information can be considered in the unfortunate event that you are affected by a complication or diabetes related illness that could have been avoided.

How we can help

If you or a family member suffer with diabetes and think you have not received proper care which has resulted in complications we would like to help and can offer you free, friendly advice. Contact our specialist clinical negligence team on 0800 213214 or complete our simple on line enquiry form.