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Northern Ireland action group criticises stigma in the diabetes policy of the country

Health bosses in Northern Ireland are being accused of neglecting people with type 2 diabetes.
The ‘Type-2 Action NI’ group has been formed in response to criticism that the country’s Diabetes Strategic Framework is too heavily focused on type 1 diabetes and stigmatises people with type 2 diabetes.
The country’s Department of Health published the policy last year in a bid to improve the care and support offered to the 100,000-plus people living with both types of diabetes in Northern Ireland.
But campaigner Billy McClure, who is part of the action group, said the document was unfair and is calling for the policy to be reviewed.
He said: “As people living with type 2 diabetes we are all too aware of the stigma which the disease has, where people see it as being our fault. We feel like we are being neglected, and that opportunities to improve the standard of care are being missed.
“Many of the public health messages around obesity, diet and exercise do little to help those who already have the condition or complications of it. Yet they perpetuate the stigma that somehow it’s our fault we have type 2 diabetes, ignoring important factors we can’t control like our family history and ageing.”
Public meetings are now being planned by Type 2 Action NI to take part in each of the country’s health regions.
Dr Henry Mckee, a GP working in Northern Ireland, agreed with the points made by the group. He said: “It is really important because a majority of patients in Northern Ireland have type 2. The framework document is leaning quite heavily towards type 1 and we need to reflect the population as a whole. It needs to reflect the majority of patients and people we are seeing day in day out in GP surgeries.”
Responding to the complaints, a spokesman for the Department of Health said: “The Framework is being implemented by a Northern Ireland-wide Diabetes Network which comprises front-line staff as well search.aspxas people living with diabetes.
“Priorities which will benefit people living with diabetes include improving access to diabetes-structured education, enhancing foot care and ensuring that technological advances are harnessed to improve long term outcomes. The Framework also emphasises the need to prevent type 2 diabetes.”

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