Dickson calls for full delivery of diabetes strategy after major report

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has called for full delivery of an agreed diabetes strategy after a major report stated a clear opportunity to improve care for those living with the condition was missed.The Northern Ireland Audit Office report said while a review of diabetes care in 2003 outlined best practice towards those with type 2 diabetes, limited implementation and a lack of a comprehensive strategy from the Department of Health until 2016 meant a lack of value for money for services relating to it.

Mr Dickson, who is Chair of the Assembly All-Party Group on Diabetes, said more action needed to be taken to help those with diabetes.

“The expectation is 100,000 people in Northern Ireland are expected to have diabetes by 2020. Type 2 diabetes accounts for almost 90 per cent of cases here. We need to ensure those suffering from it have ready access to locally-based treatment and whatever support they need.

“As well as a human cost, there is a financial cost to diabetes – local treatment costs are estimated at £400 million annually but that is also estimated to rise by 17 per cent by 2035. That is 10 per cent of the entire local health and social care budget. In these times of budgetary constraints, £400 million a year and growing is proving a huge strain.

“We need a restored Executive to deal with pressing issues such as delivery of the Diabetes Strategic Framework, first published two years ago. While a strategy itself does not guarantee successful implementation, as the Audit Office report states, it will provide an opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the number of serious cases.”

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