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Half measures not enough to tackle diabetes, RCN warns

Half measures are not enough to tackle the rising number of people with diabetes, nurses warn as new figures are released.
Diabetes_exercise

Half measures are not enough to tackle the rising number of people with diabetes, nurses warn as new figures are released.

The RCN has called for improved training for nurses and greater resources to address a growing number of preventable cases.

New figures released by Public Health England (PHE) show 3.8 million adults have the condition, with one in four people (940,000 of the total number) undiagnosed.

About 90% of cases of diabetes are type 2 diabetes.

PHE predicts the situation is going to worsen with one in 10 people (4.9 million) in England expected to be diagnosed with diabetes by 2035.

Serious complications

RCN professional lead for public health nursing Helen Donovan said: Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications and

Half measures are not enough to tackle the rising number of people with diabetes, nurses warn as new figures are released.

Diabetes_exercise
Promotion of healthy lifestyles can reduce the number of people with diabetes. Picture: iStock

The RCN has called for improved training for nurses and greater resources to address a growing number of preventable cases.

New figures released by Public Health England (PHE) show 3.8 million adults have the condition, with one in four people (940,000 of the total number) undiagnosed.

About 90% of cases of diabetes are type 2 diabetes.

PHE predicts the situation is going to worsen with one in 10 people (4.9 million) in England expected to be diagnosed with diabetes by 2035.

Serious complications

RCN professional lead for public health nursing Helen Donovan said: ‘Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications and even death, so expert treatment by fully trained doctors and nurses is vital to keep people with these conditions as healthy as possible.’

She said money and effort to, for example, reduce hidden sugars in food and promote healthy lifestyles are needed to prevent further cases.

‘Nursing staff need the training and the time to identify those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, to make meaningful interventions with them, and to help them reduce their risk,’ she said.

Ms Donovan added: ‘Half measures will not be enough. It is high time this was tackled head on.’

PHE chief knowledge officer John Newton said that tackling diabetes is fundamental to the sustainable future of the NHS.

Prevention programme

The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is being rolled out across England. Its aims are to identify people most at risk of developing diabetes, and to offer them referrals to diet, weight loss and exercise programmes.

Sarah Gregory, an inpatient diabetes specialist nurse in Kent, told Nursing Standard she was unsurprised by the level of undiagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes.

She said it depends on the clinician or the GP surgery to decide what action to take with patients who have high blood glucose levels.

‘This is a nationwide problem,’ she said.

Good practice

‘I work in east Kent, which is a deprived area, and we have a higher-than-average incidence of type 2 diabetes.

‘It is not always well-managed and some GPs flounder, but there are some really good pockets of practice.’

Ms Gregory said the national screening programme tested people over the age of 40, but only the most healthy people tended to turn up. Elsewhere, those who are pre-diabetic do not always follow lifestyle advice.

‘It depends on how important individual GP practices think it is,’ she added.

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