Keith Vaz – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Keith Vaz on 2016-09-09.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress has been made on reducing required variations in the care provided to people with diabetes.

Nicola Blackwood

This Government is working hard to improve outcomes and quality of life for those already living with diabetes and those who will develop it in the coming years. One of our key goals in the mandate to the National Health Service is a measurable reduction in variation in the management and care of people with the condition within the lifetime of this Parliament. Funding has been secured through the spending review to help achieve this and NHS England is developing a programme to ensure that those clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which need extra investment in this area, accompanied by sound plans for delivery, receive it.

In addition, the Clinical Commissioning Group Improvement and Assessment Framework will play a key role in delivering this as it contains two recognised evidence based measures of whether patients with diabetes are being supported to successfully manage their condition (achievement of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence treatment targets and participation in structured education programmes).

Using data from the NHS Atlas of Variation, NHS Right Care is also working with CCGs and other local partners to make improvements in diabetes care and reduce variation by providing hands on practical support.

Since 2009/10, there has been an almost 70% increase in the proportion of people newly diagnosed with diabetes recorded as being referred to structured education courses, designed to help them manage their condition in the long term. However, whilst we know that the data on take up needs improving, there is still much further to go in enabling people with diabetes to access these programmes.

The Department, NHS England and Diabetes UK are working on ways to improve the take up of structured education including exploring how more diversity of provision might be delivered through digital and web based approaches. The Department recently held a seminar with key stakeholders to identify actions that would facilitate improved access.

CCGs are primarily responsible for commissioning diabetes services to meet the requirements of their population. In doing so, CCGs need to ensure that the services they provide are fit for purpose, reflect the needs of the local population, are based on the available evidence, taking into account national guidelines. This should include consideration of access to continuous glucose monitoring for people with Type 1 diabetes who might benefit from it.