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We must take action on diabetes - Poots

Health Minister Edwin Poots has said we must ensure we do everything possible to prevent the potentially devastating complications of diabetes.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Minister was speaking as he addressed the Diabetes UK Annual professional Conference in Northern Ireland, which this year focussed on the importance of foot care for people with diabetes.

Around 200 diabetes-related lower limb amputations take place every year in Northern Ireland. The Minister said: “The importance of good foot care for people with diabetes is particularly important as 80 percent of amputations are potentially preventable through early intervention. We must ensure that we do everything we can to prevent the complications of diabetes and take action as quickly as possible to ensure that devastating consequences such as amputation are avoided.”

Since the publication of the CREST / Diabetes UK framework for diabetes services in 2003, there has been significant investment in diabetes services, including £3million which has been provided to recruit over 70 additional staff to provide services for people with diabetes including specialist diabetes nurses, dieticians and podiatrists. In addition, £9million has been invested in cardiovascular services, £14million in stroke services and £8m to expand renal capacity to deal with the many consequences of diabetes.

Outlining plans to address the increasing prevalence of diabetes, the Minister said: “My Department is finalising a new 10-year Public Health Strategic Framework, which will set the overall framework for action, across Government, to improve public health by addressing the causes of ill-health and health inequalities.

“Work has also been progressing on a review of diabetes care, led by the Chief Medical Officer, to maximise the resources we have to ensure that diabetes care is fit for purpose and sustainable.”

Turning to ‘Transforming Your Care’, the Minister said that a key recommendation is the introduction of Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs), which will enable local health and social care professionals and voluntary and community sector organisations to work more closely to improve service delivery for patients. The Minister continued:

“By encouraging a joined up approach, we will make it easier for people to access the health and social care system and also to reduce the need to visit hospital for services which could more easily be delivered locally. Diabetes is one of the long-term conditions that has been selected for action by ICPs, to improve the way services are organised.”

Concluding, the Minister said: “I want to take this opportunity to once again affirm my commitment to both improving services for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and to preventing type 2 diabetes. The opportunities offered by Transforming Your Care and the Strategic Framework for Public Health, as well as the work of the Diabetes Review Group, provide a positive direction for the way ahead.”

Notes to editors:

1.Media enquiries about this press release to the DHSSPS Press Office on 028 905 20074. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.