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Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people were treated for diabetes (a) in England and (b) in each constituency in the last year for which figures are available. [118721]

I regret that this information is not available in the format requested. However, an estimated 1.3 million people in England have diagnosed diabetes. A population of 100,000 would be expected to include between 2,000 and 3,000 people with diabetes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his target is for the number of diabetes specialists per head of population; what the current ratio is; and if he will make a statement. [118874]

Targets are not set centrally with regard to numbers of specialists per head of population.The table shows the number of Hospital medical staff and consultants with a specialty in endocrinology and diabetes mellitus per head of population. It also shows the figure per 100,000 head of population, which is the standard ratio used by the Department.

England, as at 30 September 2001NumberPer head of population1Per 100,000 head of population2
All Grades9870.000022.0
1 Figures are rounded to 5 decimal places
2 Figures are rounded to 2 decimal places


Department of Health Medical and Dental Workforce Census. 2001 ONS Population Census.

Current workforce projections suggest that, by September 2004, there may be around 160 additional trained specialists available to take up consultant posts in endocrinology and diabetes mellitus, over a 2,000 baseline of 410.

The national service framework for diabetes delivery strategy, published this year, calls for an examination of the workforce needed to deliver high quality diabetes care. Diabetes care, like many other conditions, relies on the valuable contribution of a wide range of staff as well as consultants. Combined with new ways of working, increasing numbers of staff will help to improve the experience of people with diabetes.

The national service framework for diabetes delivery strategy is available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the number of diabetes specialists needed to cover the (a) Essex Strategic Health Authority and (b) Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust areas; and how many of the diabetes specialist posts are filled. [118878]

The Department of Health does not set local targets for the number of diabetes specialists. It is for primary care trusts to decide the best approach to delivering the national standards to the communities they serve. Likewise, data on the local distribution of diabetes specialists are not held centrally.Government policy on diabetes is set out in the national service framework for diabetes delivery strategy, published this year. A copy of this is available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the medical advantages of the provision of insulin pump therapy for type I diabetics; [119376](2) what plans he has to make insulin pumps and infusion kits free of charge for diabetics who require them for medical reasons; [119377](3) when he expects to implement the guidance provided by NICE on insulin pump therapy; [119378](4) which health authorities provide insulin pump therapy at no cost; [119379](5) what estimates he has made of

(a) the numbers of type I diabetics who require insulin pump therapy and (b) the costs of providing this service free of charge. [119380]

[holding answer 16 June 2003]: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued its full guidance on the use of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion for diabetes in February 2003. The guidance states that insulin pump therapy is an option for some people with type 1 diabetes. Health professionals are expected to take full account of this guidance when exercising their clinical judgment. Hospital consultants may prescribe equipment such as insulin pumps as part of national health service treatment. It is for the NHS locally to make decisions about the best use of its resources on the basis of its priorities and needs.