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Vital role of PNs in diabetes checks highlighted

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Nurses have a crucial role in ensuring with diabetes do not miss vital health checks, according to health charity Diabetes UK.

The charity this week launched a checklist of “must have” services to help sufferers stay healthy after it emerged many were missing out on essential checks and specialist services including retinal screening, foot checks and kidney assessments.

It is urging patients to use the 15-point list to ensure they were getting the services they needed.

However, it added that nurses – who deliver a large proportion of diabetes care – had a crucial role in raising awareness both out in the community and on hospital wards.

Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said there were a variety of reasons patients missed checks but one was that some health professionals underestimated the seriousness of the condition.

“Some GP practices are absolutely excellent in supporting people with diabetes but some are not, telling patients things like ‘you have a touch of diabetes’,” she said.

“Practice nurses have a crucial role in ensuring people get the right information, understood the condition and access specialist help such as seeing a diabetes nurse specialist.

“The same applies to nurses in inpatient services, who need to make sure patients with diabetes are assessed and get essential checks like foot checks while they’re in hospital.”

She said preventing health complications from diabetes could save the NHS millions but admitted specialist services, including diabetes nurse specialist posts, had been hard hit by funding cuts.

She urged nurses to get in touch and report shortfalls in services in their areas as part of the charity’s ongoing Diabetes Watch campaign.

Diabetes UK is in the process of setting up a formal network for diabetes nurse specialists, which should be up and running by the end of the year.

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