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Dickson Welcomes Launch of the ‘Diabetes is Serious’ Report



East Antrim Alliance MLA, and Chair of the Assembly All Party Group on Diabetes, Stewart Dickson, has welcomed the launch of Diabetes UK’s report: Diabetes is Serious.


Mr Dickson said: “Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health crises of our time with over 104,000 people currently living with diabetes in Northern Ireland, and the number of people diagnosed having doubled in the last 15 years.


“Without proper management, diabetes can lead to complications including heart attack, stroke, and amputation. The sad reality is that too often these devastating and life changing complications are avoidable through better care, early intervention, and prevention”.


As Chair of the Assembly All Party Group on Diabetes, Mr Dickson has been close to the detail as this report has developed, and echoed Diabetes UK’s call for the care and treatment of all types of diabetes to be at the heart of the Executive’s plans to support the recovery of the health service from COVID-19.


Mr Dickson said: “The pandemic has caused major and unavoidable disruption to diabetes care, with a survey carried out by Diabetes UK revealing that a quarter of respondents had a consultation relating to their diabetes cancelled since March 2020 that has still not taken place. Routine appointments are vital for identifying the early signs of complications, which may not yet be visible, and for supporting people living with diabetes to keep their self-management on track”.


Today’s report was informed by a survey of 200 people living with, or affected by, diabetes, along with focus groups and workshops held throughout 2021.


Mr Dickson further echoed the key tenets of the report when he said: “As the Executive looks to transform the Health Service, the ‘Diabetes is Serious’ report champions the need to prioritise and invest in diabetes care and prevention.

“What has been produced by Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is comprehensive, thorough, and articulates Northern Ireland’s requirements to a tee. I want to congratulate and thank the team in equal measure for their time and commitment, and I hope that the report resonates with the Executive, ultimately bringing about positive change in diabetes care for the people of Northern Ireland”.


Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is calling for:


1. Decision-makers to do all they can to support the health service to prioritise delivery of routine diabetes care and prevention, and catch up on the backlog of appointments.


2. Northern Ireland to have a systematic and robust method of auditing on diabetes prevalence and care, like the National Diabetes Audit in England and Wales.


3. The Department of Health to build on the commitments within the Mental Health Strategy to ensure it correctly addresses the mental health needs of people with long-term health conditions such as diabetes and ensure that mental health interventions are available throughout care pathways.


4. The Department of Health to lead on development of a strategy to address service gaps which are currently adversely affecting care, supported by a population health needs assessment and workforce mapping.


5. The Department of Health to build on progress made through the Diabetes Prevention Programme and the Diabetes Remission Programme to make sure there are services across Northern Ireland to prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes or putting their type 2 diabetes into remission.


More information can be found here: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/in_your_area/n_ireland

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