Diabetes patients at risk from NHS cutbacks

Mon, 23 May 2011
A new report has highlighted the increasing risk that diabetes patients are faced with due to the cost-cutting measures being imposed on NHS specialist nursing staff. The charity Diabetes UK has warned that there are major concerns that the cutbacks will mean diabetics facing a reduction in care, and possibly more amputations, loss of sight and a decreasing health outlook.

The research into how many vacancies there are for diabetic specialist nurse (DSN) positions showed that of the 385 hospital trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) surveyed by the charity, there were 218 vacant jobs in 2010, double that of the previous year, despite the amount of people suffering from the metabolic condition in the UK increasing by 150,000 each year.

It was also found that the number of DSN positions left unfilled due to cutbacks as part of the NHS efficiency drive had increased to 43 per cent, a rise from 34 per cent the previous year.

Barbara Young, chief executive at Diabetes UK, pointed out "At a time when numbers of people with diabetes are increasing, a decrease in the number of diabetes specialist nurses is very concerning."

She added "This will mean longer waiting times for specialist support, more unnecessary amputations, more people losing their sight and far poorer health outcomes. This is simply not acceptable."
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