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Shortage of specialist nurses endangers the lives of children with diabetes

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Children with diabetes are at increased risk of severe hypoglycaemic attacks, according to a report released today by health charity Diabetes UK.

The children are also at risk of long term complications such as blindness, kidney failure or amputations due to paediatric diabetes specialist nurses (PDSNs) being overstretched.

The report shows that some PDSNs in PCTs look after more than 150 children, more than double the recommended number of 70.

The PDSN caseload in 35% of PCTs has increased since 2007, and less than 7% of PCTs has seen an improvement in their PDSN caseload, this report reveals.

Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: 'This situation needs to be addressed urgently. Specialist nurses play a vital role in diabetes care and management.

'Services must improve now otherwise our children risk developing serious, long term complications of diabetes such as losing their sight or needing kidney dialysis in later life,' he added.

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