Simon O'Neill, BA (Hons), RN, RSCN.
Head of Diabetes Care Developments, Diabetes UK, London...
Despite the delay, the momentum for delivery of diabetes care must be maintained everywhere. The requirement for all primary care trusts to undertake a local assessment of diabetes provides the opportunity to prepare fully for implementation. All those involved in diabetes care, including people with diabetes, must take part. The building blocks to delivering the care that people with diabetes expect should now be put in place. The delay in implementation will mean that their expectations will be higher than ever about what will be delivered in 2003.
While the standards document provides the direction of travel for diabetes care in the future, it currently lacks the detail needed to make a radical change to the experiences of people living with diabetes. The next step is to ensure that the delivery of the standards is as patient centred as the standards themselves. Diabetes UK hopes that this will be addressed fully through prioritisation, commitment of resources and the involvement of people with diabetes and health-care professionals, to ensure that the vision of the NSF is achieved.
Currently lacking in the document is a clear framework of what constitutes 'high-quality care'. Diabetes UK believes that quality care is that which enables the individual with diabetes to achieve a quality of life and life expectancy similar to that of those who do not have diabetes. Quality care can only be achieved if it is the right care, delivered in the right place, at the right time, by the right person.
Department of Health. (2000) The NHS Plan. London: The Stationery Office.