‘Nurses can help prevent hundreds of premature diabetes-related deaths each week’

Diabetes UK says nurses are key to helping people manage the condition and complications

Nurses can help educate people with diabetes about vital checks such as eye screening,
says Diabetes UK. Picture: iStock

Hundreds of people with diabetes die prematurely every week in England and Wales, according to new figures.

A Diabetes UK analysis shows that each week 500 people with the condition die, and many of these deaths are caused by avoidable complications.

Advice on how to avoid complications

The charity says nurses are in a key position to advise people sensitively about how to manage the condition to avoid serious health problems such as heart failure.

The findings come from its analysis of the most recent NHS National Diabetes Audit report on complications and mortality.

The analysis also shows that men and women aged 35-64 with type 1 diabetes are three to four times more likely to die prematurely than those without the condition.

Diabetes UK’s Libby Dowling: ‘Nurses
can encourage shared decision-making’ 

The 15 healthcare essentials 

Diabetes UK senior clinical adviser Libby Dowling said nurses can help to educate people with diabetes and also provide their 15 healthcare essentials – free NHS check-ups including eye screening, advice on diet and blood pressure and kidney tests.

‘Nurses are in a key position to assess for, advise on and manage any potential complications of diabetes. Equally, they can foster a collaborative, inclusive and non-judgemental approach by being sensitive to the language they use. This helps avoid stigma and encourage shared decision-making,' she said.

Every week in the UK, 680 people experience a stroke as a complication of diabetes, 530 people have a diabetes-related heart attack, and there are about 2,000 cases of diabetes-related heart failure, the charity says.

Continued investment

Since 2017, the NHS Diabetes Transformation Fund has invested more than £80 million across England to improve care for people with diabetes and help them manage their condition. 

Diabetes UK called on NHS England to continue this action to improve services.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘As we draw up the long-term plan for the NHS, we will be building on the success of our existing work to reduce variation and ensure services are available to help prevent the complications associated with diabetes.’

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