Landmark changes to diabetes care up for debate

Thousands of UK healthcare professionals will soon be shown how to embrace a landmark shift in the country’s guidelines on supporting people living with diabetes.

More than 4.9 million people in the UK have diabetes and the NHS spends at least £10 billion a year on the condition – about 10 per cent of its entire budget.

It is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in the UK and more than 700 people with diabetes die prematurely every week.

Earlier this year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued new guidance which included recommendations to give people with type 1 diabetes in England full NHS access to intermittently scanned continuous glucose monitoring and real-time continuous glucose monitoring.

The detailed recommendations are due to be brought to life for thousands of UK healthcare professionals at this month’s Diabetes Professional Care conference by a panel of leading experts, including Professor David Strain of the University of Exeter Medical School.

He said: “We’ve seen a landmark shift in the latest NICE guidelines – they’ve moved away from pure cost effectiveness and into disease prevention and there’s been a huge leap forward in the promotion of technology.

“There’s been much discussion about how different healthcare providers will implement this locally, the potential gains for patients and whether this shift from cost acquisition to overall patient well-being is the right thing to do in a cash-strapped NHS.

“We’ll be talking about all these issues at the Big Guideline Debate at the Diabetes Professional Care conference with the intention that healthcare professionals will leave the event feeling confident about how to implement these recommendations to benefit their patients.”

Professor Strain believes one of the biggest leaps forward in the new guidelines is the advocacy for intermittently scanned and continuous glucose monitoring, particularly for older adults who require assistance to deliver their own care.

They replace the traditional finger-prick tests and continuously monitor people’s blood sugar levels to help those living with diabetes to understand how food, activity and other things affect their blood sugar levels.

This is crucial because successfully managing blood sugar levels prevents people from developing diabetes complications, like serious problems with their eyes and feet.

Professor Strain said: “Until now we’ve tried to guess what is going on, based on averages, but with the use of this technology we can actually see what is going on and start to make focussed, specific changes to patient care.”

During the Big Guideline Debate session, the panel will also address how the NICE guidelines differ from the latest guidelines issued by the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and Scotland’s SIGN diabetes guidelines.

The Diabetes Professional Care conference will take place on 16 and 17 November at London Olympia.

Healthcare professionals can register for the conference by clicking here.

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