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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007, 00:13 GMT
Child diabetes care 'worsening'
Child with diabetes
Many children do not control their blood sugar levels well
Many children with diabetes are at risk of losing limbs because the financial problems of the NHS in England are hitting services, a charity warns.

Diabetes UK says 80% of children with diabetes have poor glucose control - putting them at risk of complications.

The Department of Health admitted services were patchy, but said measures would be announced next month.

In the UK, there are 20,000 children under the age of 15 with insulin-dependent, or type 1 diabetes.

Another 1,000 children have type 2, which is associated with obesity - but many more are undiagnosed.

We can't afford to wait until our children start to lose their sight or need kidney dialysis before we make sure services improve
Douglas Smallwood
Diabetes UK

The Diabetes UK report said services for children with diabetes had deterioriated in 75% of the areas studied between 2005 and 2006.

It said NHS deficits had led to paediatric diabetes specialist nurses (PDSNs) being overstretched.

According to the Royal College of Nursing, there should be no more than 70 children to each nurse.

But the report said some NHS trusts have caseloads of up to 300 children.

It found that almost every region in Engalnd had seen an increase in the number of children managed by each PDSN.

Psychological support

Over a third (40%) of trusts had no protocols for transferring children into adult diabetic care while nearly a third of youngsters who wanted psychological support did not receive it.

Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "No wonder 80% of children have poor blood glucose control.

"Most are struggling to even see a specialist nurse, so any additional support is out of the question.

"With the inevitable explosion of children with type 2 diabetes, with no additional resources, nurses will be faced with ever increasing caseloads.

"We can't afford to wait until our children start to lose their sight or need kidney dialysis before we make sure services improve.

"It is time resources are provided to supply the best possible specialised care and support for children with diabetes."

InfoBank launched

A "Diabetes InfoBank" is also being launched, which will show progress in meeting Government targets.

People will be able to access information on diabetic care in their area by going to

Diabetes can lead to complications like heart disease, strokes, nerve damage which can cause amputations, blindness and kidney failure.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We recognise that diabetes care for children is variable.

"We are publishing a report next month which is the result of a wide ranging working group, which included parents, clinicians, commissioners, cross-government departments and Diabetes UK, set up to look at the issues.

"The report will make recommendations in a number of areas including provision of appropriate services for younger people."

Children/Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse
Region 2005 2006
East Midlands 96 108
Eastern 137 121
London 50 98
North West 82 100
Northern and Yorkshire 85 100
South West 116 80
South East 118 160
West Midlands 136 108
Source: Diabetes UK

Diabetes 'hitting poor hardest'
14 Nov 06 |  Health
09 Feb 99 |  Medical notes

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