POOR diabetes care is still rife in Swindon, with nearly half all sufferers still failing to receive adequate support and health checks, according to a new online map launched by a national charity.
Diabetes UK has created Diabetes Watch, a web programme designed to compare the levels of care offered to patients across the UK.
The interactive map identifies Swindon as one of the worst areas in the country with an alarming 41 per cent of the 11,000 people with the long-term condition in the town reported as not receiving vital annual checks to help manage their symptoms.
Diabetes Watch has flagged up the Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group, in charge of buying health for the district, as one of the worst performing in the country – among the bottom 25 per cent for providing checks. The figure for people with Type 1 diabetes was even lower, with only 24 per cent receiving these eight checks.
The charity said the fact other areas in the country are offering checks – including eye, foot and kidney screening – to more than 70 per cent of people with diabetes means that it is possible for this to happen everywhere.
Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK regional manager in the South West, called on Swindon CCG to set out how it plans to improve.
“Diabetes Watch shows a very stark postcode lottery,” she said.
“It is deeply worrying that the proportion of people having these important diabetes checks varies so widely from area to area and that Swindon is seen to be under-performing.
“Considering how the checks can help prevent devastating health complications such as amputation and blindness, offering just 41 per cent of people these checks is simply not good enough. While the percentage receiving these checks has improved in Swindon, we want to see more progress. People with diabetes have to manage their condition every single day and need the support from their healthcare teams to do this.”
Access Diabetes Watch at diabeteswatch.diabetes.org.uk Gill May, executive nurse for Swindon Clinical Commission-ing Group said: “Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group acknowledges that the number of people with diabetes who are not receiving annual checks in the local area is not at the level we would like to see.
“The CCG has held a diabetes service re-design workshop in September 2013 to review local diabetes services. The CCG is also working with GP practices across Swindon to reduce variations in people receiving their annual diabetes checks “We want people to share their thoughts and experiences about their local diabetes services. They can do this by writing to the CCG or feeding back via the website.”