Diabetes services in Manchester are thriving, while hundreds of patients in other regions are being denied vital information about how to cope with their lifelong disease.
In over a third of areas in England, diabetes patients are not being offered any kind of educational course after their diagnosis, a recent FOI request has revealed.
Around 700 people in the UK are diagnosed with diabetes each day, and understanding the condition is key to avoiding complications such as amputation, blindness and stroke.
Paul Crescenzi, a Type 1 diabetic from Didsbury, told MM: “The day I was diagnosed was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. I was absolutely devastated.
“But the quality of healthcare I’ve received in Manchester has been amazing.
“As soon as my GP realised what was wrong with me, I was in hospital being seen by a specialist within four hours. The turnaround was fantastic.”
Paul has access to four special diabetes centres across Manchester and has regular check-ups with a plethora of diabetic specialists, all of whom have been ‘hugely supportive’.
But there have been a few minor exceptions.
He said: “Just a few hours after I’d been diagnosed, a nurse at MRI told me, ‘When you test your blood, you should only prick your last two fingers. You’ll need to keep your index fingers in good shape so you can read braille when you go blind.’
“That was utterly horrific. It’s the last thing you want to hear when you’ve been diagnosed with a disease like this. But besides that one nurse I’ve been very lucky in the care that I’ve had.”
The UK’s first diabetes centre was opened in Manchester in 1988, and it seems that the city has been leading the way in diabetes care since then.
But other areas of the UK are falling far behind with only 3.6% of new diabetics being offered enough information to cope with their condition.
— Jon Kemp (@kempmma) July 11, 2015
Chief Executive of Diabetes UK Chris Askew said: “This is worrying news. Most diabetics manage their condition alone so we need to make sure we are giving them the knowledge to do so.
“We wouldn’t dream of letting someone drive a car if they hadn’t learned how to do so, and yet we seem to think it is okay to expect people to manage a complex and potentially life-threatening condition without any structured education.
“Until the NHS starts to provide diabetes education to all people with diabetes, people living with the condition will continue to be denied the best chance of living long and healthy lives.”
For World Diabetes Day today, Diabetes UK launched their new #TakeControl campaign, aimed at getting free educational courses to diabetics all over the country.
Paul added: “Having diabetes is hard work, and it’s lots of worry. It’s amazing how much of your free will it takes away. You really do need all the help you can get.”
Image courtesy of Oskar Annermarken, with thanks.