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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 01:10 GMT
Diabetes care 'failing children'
Pin prick test
Around 15,000 children have type 1 diabetes
Children with diabetes are still not getting the specialist care they need, a study says.

A Diabetes UK survey of 150 local health bodies found only a quarter had made child diabetes care a priority.

The study also found many services in England were not offering counselling and nurses were being overstretched with average case loads topping 100.

But the research did offer some hope as it said nearly all NHS bodies had introduced diabetes training for staff.

The Dr Foster survey of primary care trusts, which are in charge of commissioning services, looked at the care being offered to the 20,000 under 15s with type I diabetes.

We cannot wait until our children start to lose their sight or need kidney dialysis before we focus on their care
Douglas Smallwood, of Diabetes UK

While type II diabetes, which is linked to obesity, is becoming more common among children, only 500 have actually developed the disease.

The findings by the research firm come at a time when only 85% of type I diabetes children are reaching the recommended blood glucose lessons.

Diabetes UK chief executive Douglas Smallwood said: "The future health of children with diabetes is being put at risk, yet only a quarter of local NHS services have included improving the situation in their local plans.

"We cannot wait until our children start to lose their sight or need kidney dialysis before we focus on their care.

"Dedicated doctors and nurses are doing their best, but they need the full support of the NHS.

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

Dr Sue Roberts, National Clinical Director for Diabetes, said the government recognised more needed to be done and improvement would take time.

But she added: "More PCTs are now addressing the important issue of specialist care for children with diabetes.

"And there has been a significant increase in the number of PCTs with protocols for assessing children with diabetes compared to last year."

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