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Volume 468: debated on Wednesday 28 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government has taken to improve the lives of those with diabetes since 1997. (167898)

[holding answer 26 November 2007]: In December 2001 the Department published the “Diabetes National Service Framework” (NSF). This set out 12 National Standards for diabetes in the areas of prevention, identification, education and treatment and was put in place to raise the quality of services for people with diabetes.

The standards were followed by the “National Service Framework: Delivery Strategy”. Published in January 2003, the Delivery Strategy provides a vision of what services should be in place by 2013, and what steps will be necessary to deliver those services.

The national diabetes support team (NDST) was established in 2003. This has been a successful mechanism for the delivery of the NSF, providing support to local services through its regional programme managers and developing tools and resources that can be used nationally.

Dr. Sue Roberts was appointed national clinical director to lead on implementation of the National Service Framework. Dr. Roberts works closely with colleagues in the Department and the NDST to spread good practice and provide professional leadership at a national level.

The introduction of the new Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) as part of the general practitioner contract had led to the diagnosis of around 200,000 extra people in the last two years. This means that these people are now able to access the care, advice and treatment they need to enable them to manage their diabetes more effectively and reduce their risk of complications. The QOF also measures achievement of key clinical indicators for people with diabetes, such as HbA1c, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This has also shown improvements in the management of diabetes over the last three years.

The Department works together with the NDST and other organisations such as Diabetes UK to provide the national health service with tools and guidance to support them in improving local services for people with diabetes. This includes a Diabetes Commissioning Toolkit, care planning guidance and a report on improving services for children and young people with diabetes.

Patient education is key to empowering people with diabetes to be partners in their own care. The number of sites offering good quality structured education is increasing, but the 2007 “Healthcare Commission survey of people with diabetes” showed that only 11 per cent., of people with diabetes have accessed patient education. We are supporting the spread of these programmes through our patient education guidance, which outlines the elements necessary for developing high-quality patient education programmes and highlights best practice to enable local services to meet the recommendations in the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance and NSF.

The fourth NSF progress report “The Way Ahead: The Local Challenge” was published in March 2007 and highlights progress made in the four years following the publication of the delivery strategy. The report highlights the progress that frontline NHS staff have made in improving diabetes services, and provides examples of best practice. A copy has been placed in the Library and is also available at: