Only a quarter of type 1 diabetes patients in Bedfordshire getting important health checks

Charity warns missing health checks can be “absolutely devastating”

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 7th July 2022, 5:15 pm

Only a quarter of people with type 1 diabetes in Bedfordshire received important annual health checks in 2021, new figures show.

Across England, check-up rates have fallen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, and Diabetes UK said missing health checks can be "absolutely devastating", potentially leading to life-altering complications and early death.

To help limit the impact of diabetes, patients are expected to undergo eight annual health checks, including analysing their body mass index, smoking status, blood pressure and cholesterol.

A nurse giving a patient a diabetes test

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NHS Digital figures show 24% of 1,045 type 1 diabetes patients registered with GPs in the NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes CCG area received all eight health checks in 2021.

For the 21,815 type 2 patients in the region, this figure rose to 39%.

An NHS-commissioned report published this year said more than 3,000 people with diabetes in England died during the pandemic due to the drastic drop in patients receiving their annual check-ups.

Helen Kirrane, head of policy, campaigns and mobilisation Diabetes UK, said: "While the UK Government was focused on cutting waiting lists for operations and other planned care, people with diabetes were pushed to the back of the queue.

"Urgent action is now required, which is why we’re calling on the UK Government to prioritise the recovery of diabetes care and to recommit to improving outcomes for people with and at risk of diabetes."

The Department for Health and Social Care said getting diabetes patients back into routine care is "essential for effective treatment and management".

A spokesperson said: "The NHS is supporting local systems with £36 million in funding to help them increase uptake and tackle health inequalities, and last year, the number of diabetes patients receiving all eight care processes increased by nearly a third compared to the year before."

Alongside the eight health care checks, patients with diabetes are given haemoglobin, blood pressure and cholesterol targets to reach each year to reduce the chance of complications.

Some 23% of type 1 and 31% of type 2 diabetics in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes reached these three key thresholds in 2021.