There were 3,317 cases of children admitted from A&E with diabetic ketoacidosis – a life-threatening complication brought on by hyperglycaemia – in the 12 months from April 2006 to March 2007. This represents an 8% increase on the 3,073 in the year before and an even more significant jump from the 2,617 cases in 2002-2003.
Patients aged under 18 accounted for over a quarter of the overall 12,326 emergency admissions for DKA in 2006-2007.
The charity Diabetes UK, which released the figures, warned that cuts in specialist diabetes staff had contributed to an increase in hospital admissions.
‘The number of children being rushed to A&E with such a life-threatening complication is shocking,’ said Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK.
‘With increased awareness and education and more investment from the NHS in specialist paediatric diabetes care, the number of emergency admissions could be dramatically reduced,’ he said. ‘Action must be taken now to improve the quality of life for our children.’