Headlines: November 11th, 2004

Half of England’s Primary Care Trusts are still failing to prioritise care for children with diabetes a year and a half after the government challenged local NHS services to set targets for dealing with the diabetes crisis, according to a report out day. ‘Your Local Care 2004’, published today by Diabetes UK, says services for children, from diagnosis through to their transfer to adult care, are suffering, along with key elements of care for adults with diabetes.The report highlights local successes and failures in delivering services to people with diabetes and shows how those services vary from region to region. The report, produced for Diabetes UK by the healthcare company Dr Foster, is designed to be a guide for patients to see how well the NHS in their area is performing on diabetes.

Among the successes are a significant increase in the number of Primary Care Trusts implementing early identification programmes in the past year, and the fact that than nine out of ten PCTs have provided diabetes training for their doctors and nurses in the past two years. Almost all GP practices now have registers of people in their areas diagnosed with diabetes.

Listing the failures, the report says fewer than half of care trusts have prioritised the development of services for children. Sixty per cent of them have written protocols for initial assessment and care of children with diabetes but the figure drops to 52 per cent with protocols for transferring children to adult care. Only four in ten PCTs have systems for providing individual care plans for people with diabetes and just 55 per cent are providing eye screening to the required standard. The target is for this to be done in all cases by 2007.

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said the policy of putting. decision making in the hands of PCTs was allowing gaps to open. “Many local services are responding well but the government cannot wash its hands of its responsibilities. Someone has to make sure that people are not being left out,” he said.