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Diabetes: Consultation over sufferers care plan

media captionAround a 160,000 people in Wales have diabetes, a figure which has grown by 35,000 over the past 5 years.

An action plan to help deal with the growing problem of diabetes in Wales is to go out to consultation.

Together for Health - A Diabetes Delivery Plan will ask for opinions on the delivery of diabetes care in Wales.

The Welsh government said tackling the disease was a key priority with around 7% of adults in Wales being treated for it.

Diabetes UK in Wales has called the condition a "ticking time bomb", costing £500m a year in health care.

Only last month, the charity warned of a growing problem in Wales.

It said there had been an increase of 35,000 people with the condition over the past five years, taking the national total to 160,000 - a rise of 28%.

Health boards will be expected to have plans in place by June next year.

The framework sets out expectations for health managers, including the aim of cutting incidences of type two diabetes - often blamed on poor lifestyle - and improving standards of care for people suffering from both type one and two.

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said it would build on progress already made and was kept "deliberately short" to focus concentrate on essentials.

"The clear aim of the Welsh government is for the people of Wales to have every possible chance of minimising their risk of developing diabetes by encouraging healthy lifestyles," she said.

"However, when needed, they must have access to diabetes services of the highest quality regardless of where they live, or how these services are delivered in the community, in primary care or in hospitals."

The Welsh government said the plans was designed to "support and inform NHS efforts to prevent and treat diabetes and tackle its consequences across Wales".

The aims include:

  • Reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes
  • Significantly improve the numbers getting diabetes education within a year diagnosis, especially children
  • Reduce the number of emergency admissions to hospital and readmissions
  • A fall in number of diabetes-related eye, foot, kidney and vascular complications
  • Improve glycaemic control, especially for children with diabetes
  • Reduce glycaemic emergencies as a result of diabetes
  • Ensure the public is able to access regularly updated information on the effectiveness of diabetes services

'Holy grail'

Prestatyn GP Dr Eamonn Jessup said that with more than 1,000 patients with diabetes at his practice, he welcomed the objectives set out in the strategy.

"We recognise that there is going to be a huge explosion of diabetes for a variety of reasons," he said.

"When you look at the demography projections over the next 10 to 20 years, it is absolutely terrifying the way the over-65s are going to actually explode in our society.

"Unfortunately, our lifestyle has become more sedentary over the last 20 or 30 years, and whilst we all ought to eat less and we ought to actually exercise more, I'm not sure we can bring those changes about very easily."

However, the GP, said he had reservations about how primary frontline care in GP surgeries would be funded, and whether the strategy can deliver for every postcode in Wales.

"It's all encompassing, all embracing. It is a very top-down document and it's looking for the holy grail. Unfortunately, the trouble we seem to be having, is we are getting a bit of a patchwork of services," he added.

But the chief executive of the NHS in Wales David Sissling said health boards would be held to account on delivering high quality diabetes care.

"It challenges each organisation to plan and deliver high quality services in partnership," he said. "I want to see continuous improvement integrated into everyday working."

By 2025, the number of people with diabetes is forecast to top 250,000 with 66,000 people currently undiagnosed.

Despite the concern, Diabetes Cymru said 70% of adults with type one diabetes and 43% with type two are not getting simple checks, such as blood glucose tests.

The charity's national director in Wales Dai Williams said the disease in Wales cost £500m a year and 87% of that was spent on complications arising from diabetes.

The consultation will last 12 weeks.

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