Roughly 75 per cent of older children with diabetes in England and Wales are not receiving key health checks, a report suggests.
The Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health’s new diabetes audit analysed data from 247,682 children and young people aged 12 and older with diabetes. All the children, 70 per cent of whom had type 1 diabetes, had attended pediatric diabetes units in England and Wales between April 2014 and March 2015.
Only 25.4 per cent of children aged 12 and older received all seven checks recommended annually by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), such as foot examination and blood pressure.
The most commonly missed checks included foot examinations, eye screenings and cholesterol testing, and Director of Policy and Care Improvement at Diabetes UK, Bridget Turner, insists the nationwide variations in the level of care provided needs to be addressed.
“This is very worrying because if children and young people are not supported to manage their diabetes well in early life, they are more likely to be at risk of debilitating and life-threatening complications in adult life such as amputations, blindness and stroke,” she said.
‘Excellent diabetes control’
However, the audit acknowledged that the overall picture of diabetes care is improving.
HbA1c levels fell in children with diabetes for a fifth consecutive year, and those achieving “excellent diabetes control” of HbA1c below 7.5% (58.5 mmol/mol) rose from 15.8 per cent in 2012-13 to 23.5 per cent in 2014-15.
Dr Justin Warner, clinical lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, insisted that while some positive results have emerged, annual health checks for children should not be missed.
“They form part of a lifetime of screening for complications which, if recognised early, are amenable to interventions that reduce progression.”
Children living in the most deprived areas of England and Wales were found to have worse HbA1c than those living in more affluent areas. The audit has called for parents of young children with diabetes to be supported more in dealing with the condition.

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