Diabetes nurses claim the service they deliver is at “breaking point” amid rising patient numbers and cutbacks.
They believe increased workloads and cuts to diabetes specialist nurse (DSN) posts are putting huge pressures on diabetes care and nearly four out of five DSNs say patient safety and care is being compromised by the situation.
The findings come from the Diabetes Specialist Nursing 2106 Workforce Survey which has been published by charity Diabetes UK.
The charity has said that the “highly-committed workforce” is now at “breaking point” because supply was not keeping up with demand and is calling for more DSNs to be appointed to ease the burden.
A total of 78 per cent of the respondents to the survey were worried about their workload, while 39 per cent believed their daily caseloads were “unmanageable”.
Contracted hours had not changed and extra hours were being worked without more pay, according to the majority of DSNs.
The charity said that the findings of the survey suggested that the DSN numbers were not in line with the increase in the number of UK adults living with diabetes, which has risen by more than 65 per cent in 10 years. A total of 29 per cent of DSNs said there had been cuts to their positions.
Another issued highlighted was the fact that 57 per cent of DSNs surveyed were eligible for retirement over the next decade.
Lead Diabetes Specialist Nurse at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust Helen Atkins said: “Every day I see the positive impact my team has, often against the odds, supporting people with diabetes to manage their condition, avoid complications and keep them out of hospital. Yet in many areas our health system is neglecting this highly skilled workforce just when we need them most.
“No nurse wants to deliver anything but the best care possible but the DSN workforce is being pushed to their limits. If we are to rise to the challenge of increasing diabetes prevalence, we need urgent action at both a local and national level to tackle DSN workforce shortages.”

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