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National Diabetes Audit: Mental Health

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 8 May 2018

People with long-term health conditions such as diabetes are at a higher risk of mental health disorders, and we are determined to improve co-ordination between services. That is why the national diabetes audit has started collecting information from GP practices on people who have both diabetes and severe mental ill health.

I should like to declare my interest. As the Minister knows, three out of five people with diabetes suffer from emotional and psychological problems, including depression and anxiety. A survey recently showed that 76% of diabetics were offered no emotional or mental health support. Will she look at the excellent work that is being done by the NHS in Grampian in Scotland, to see whether its programme could be rolled out for the rest of the country?

I would be delighted to look at the progress being made in Grampian, and we are always keen to learn from the experiences of other nations. The right hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point: people with long-term physical conditions are more likely to suffer from mental ill health. As for NHS spending, at least £1 in every eight that is spent on long-term conditions is linked to poor mental health and wellbeing spend. We have also produced a pathway for people with long-term physical health conditions to deliver more effective IAPT—increasing access to psychological therapy—services for them. However, we can always continue to learn about this subject.

Obese adults are seven times more likely to have type 2 diabetes and the associated mental health problems that go with it. Is my hon. Friend that 140,000 obese children would qualify for adult tier 4 bariatric surgery, but there is little available? Should the NHS be fortunate enough to get some well-deserved extra money for its 70th anniversary, may I put in a bid for that area to be considered?

My hon. Friend is right that once children become obese they are going to become obese adults, with all the health problems that come with that. I do not want to steal the thunder of the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Steve Brine), but rest assured that we will examine what more we can do to tackle obesity in children.

I declare an interest as a type 2 diabetic. Bearing in mind that three out of five people with diabetes have mental health issues, will the Minister outline what support services GPs should be able to offer at the first diagnosis of diabetes? Early diagnosis is key.

I could not agree more. We need GPs to understand that they must consider a patient’s needs as a whole, not just the condition that is presented at the time, and that message has been sitting behind the guidance that we have been issuing to GPs on how they manage patients with long-term health conditions.