Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Thursday, 15 November 2012

Health and Social Care Committee

Representatives from Diabetes UK, the Royal College of Physicians, the British Medical Association, Royal Pharmaceutical Society and Alliance Boots said that diabetes is an epidemic in Wales whilst giving evidence on 15 November 2012.

They also agreed that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the condition.

Members of the Health and Social Care Committee are conducting an inquiry into the implementation of the National Service Framework (NSF) for Diabetes in Wales and its future direction.

Dai Williams on behalf of Diabetes UK Cymru said that 66,000 people in Wales have type 2 diabetes, but do not know it.

There are 160,000 people with diabetes in Wales, approximately 10% have Type 1 diabetes and 144,000 have Type 2.

He said it was an epidemic.

"It's a dangerous condition, we're not making that clear to people," said Mr Williams.

"There are many people out there with type 1 diabetes, who inject themselves six times a day with little or no guidance how to do it properly."

He referred to the late rugby player Ray Gravell who had his leg amputated because of diabetes, and had not realised the dangers of his condition.

Mr Williams said that the NSF is a promising document, but is not being implemented.

He and his colleague Jason Harding voiced great concern that no one in Wales was leading the NSF and that patients were suffering for lack of co-ordination and sharing best practice.

Dr Meurig Williams and Dr Aled Roberts gave evidence on behalf of the Royal College of Physicians.

Dr Williams said that the NSF had been a success in some aspects, but practitioners were under a lot of pressure.

"One of the main beneficial effects has been to reduce the variations in quality of care," explained Dr Williams, a practising consultant diabetologist for 35 years.

"But the NSF is now dated, it's 10 years old, diabetes has moved on.

"Treatments have changed in a very major way in the last 10 years.

"About half of the drugs we use now were not developed 10 years ago.

"There is a huge challenge in trying to provide quality care."

He also said that failure to diagnose diabetes early was a big problem.

"We are lamentably lacking in early identification of diabetes," he said.

"We have a very strong evidence base to say that when we do health checks on people, not only do you identify thousands of people who have diabetes, we have an even larger number of people who are very likely to develop diabetes over the next 10 years.

"We're not addressing it."

Dr Mark Temple, speaking as a patient and as a representative of the British Medical Association said that the government needed to address the problem at all levels.

He called for them to reconsider planning policy in order to reduce the number of fast food outlets on the high street.

"It is encouraging people to snack down the high street," he said.

"We've got to encourage people to go back to getting food from the land, preparing it and eating.

"It's fairly fundamental that we've got to encourage the production of food to give people food in their homes not via a factory."

Dr Ian Millington also gave evidence on behalf of the British Medical Association.

Mair Davies and Paul Gimson attended on behalf of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

They said that opportunities have been missed to formally integrate the role of community pharmacy into national and standardised primary care models for diabetes care.

Russell Goodway and Marc Donovan represented Alliance Boots.

They called for an all-Wales arrangement to allow pharmacies to support patients with diabetes in four key areas: prevention, early identification, support at diagnosis, and long-term support.

Health and Social Care Committee membership

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