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Trusts criticised over 'poor' childhood diabetes control

One in four children with diabetes have “unacceptably” poor control over their condition, a report has found.

A key measure that keeps the condition in check is not being met by 25% of youngsters, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) warned.

These children were found to have blood glucose levels that were so high they were deemed to be at risk of developing major health complications in later life, including blindness and amputation.

Health officials recommend that patients meet targets on certain measurements including blood glucose, blood pressure and weight.

However, the College’s latest National Paediatric Diabetes Audit found that of 25,199 children and young people under the age of 25 with diabetes across England and Wales a rising number have “good” control over their condition.

The percentage of children and young people with diabetes considered to have good control increased from 14.5% in 2009/10 to 17.4% in 2011/12.

The report also highlights that only 6.7% of children had received all seven “care processes”, including foot checks and eye screening, that are recommended by health officials.

Paediatric endocrinology and diabetes consultant Dr Justin Warner of the RCPCH said: “Diabetes is a serious, yet manageable condition.

“It is heartening to see some improvement in numbers of children and young people with diabetes achieving excellent control of the disease, but is also concerning that significant numbers of children still do not have access to a level of control that would reduce their risk of developing disease-associated complications long-term.

“With recent evidence suggesting that the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children is rising and may double by 2020, getting the management of care right for every child is essential to ensure they have the best quality of life.”

Barbara Young, chief executive of charity Diabetes UK, added: “It is extremely worrying that a quarter of children with diabetes have blood glucose levels that are so high they are at significantly increased risk of health complications such as blindness or amputation later in life.

“While we welcome the improvement in the quality of healthcare for children with Type 1 diabetes, it is unacceptable that the pace of it is only modest and we still have a situation where just 7% of children the condition are getting the care processes they need. There needs to be faster progress.”

 

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