Only a third of diabetes patients in Cornwall received key health checks last year

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Only a third of people with diabetes in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly received key health checks last year. That’s according to NHS Digital data showing far fewer people in England have had recommended tests to monitor the condition since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Charity Diabetes UK says people with diabetes are being pushed to the back of the queue and calls for urgent action to prevent lives from being lost. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which produces official health advice, recommends eight checks to help people with diabetes.

These include blood sugar and blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), and smoking history.
However, figures show that only around 10,960 people registered as having diabetes in the Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area had received all eight checks in 2021.

Read more: Second homes and empty properties will not qualify for Cornwall Council’s £150 tax rebate

That was just 32% of the 34,150 people registered with the disease overall, down from 44% in 2019. Nationally, 1.3 million (38%) of the 3.5 million people registered with the diabetes had received all eight check-ups in 2021 – up from 48% in 2019.

An estimated five million people in the UK live with diabetes, which can lead to serious health complications and even premature death if not managed well.

A new survey of 10,000 people by Diabetes UK has found almost half (47%) had difficulty managing their condition in the last year. Of these, the majority (63%) said it was partly due to not having sufficient access to their healthcare team, rising to 71% in the most deprived areas of the country.

The charity is calling on the government to implement a recovery plan to get diabetes care back on track to avoid lives being ‘unnecessarily lost’.

Group chief executive Chris Askew said: “Diabetes is serious and living with it can be relentless. If people with diabetes cannot receive the care they need, they risk devastating life-altering complications and, sadly, untimely death.

“We know the NHS has worked tirelessly to keep us safe throughout the pandemic, but the impacts on the care of people with diabetes have been significant. As the UK government has focused on reducing waiting lists for operations and other planned care, people with diabetes have been pushed back to the back of the queue.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care said NHS diabetes programs help prevent people at risk from developing the disease.

She said: “We recognize the seriousness of diabetes and the new challenges posed by the pandemic – and have set out our plan to tackle the Covid backlog and deliver long-term recovery and reform, backed by our record investment .

“We have made £520 million available to improve access to GPs, which will support the resumption of routine care for patients with diabetes and other long-term conditions.”

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