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Damning report on diabetes care in the UK

Clinical negligence lawyers recognise failings in care for diabetic patients

Photo of finger prick blood test: istock

24 May 2012

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report, The management of adult diabetes services in the NHS which concludes that diabetes care in the NHS is poor, with low achievement of treatment standards, high numbers of avoidable deaths and annual spending reaching an estimated £3.9 billion.

The report finds that, despite some improvements since 2006-07, the level of care provided, standard of treatment and number of avoidable deaths from diabetes is still poor and concludes that diabetes services in England are not delivering value for money.

In 2009-10, there were an estimated 3.1 million adults with diabetes in England. The number of people with the condition is expected to increase by 23 per cent to 3.8 million by 2020. The report shows that only half of people with diabetes received the recommended standards of care in 2009-10. The standards, which the Department of Health originally set in 2001, state that people with diabetes should receive nine basic care processes each year. These care processes can reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney disease.

Leigh Day and diabetic claims

The Department of Health estimates that up to 24,000 people die each year from avoidable causes related to their diabetes. The NAO report states that the performance of primary care trusts in delivering the recommended standards of diabetes care across the NHS has not been managed effectively. Specialist clinical negligence solicitors at Leigh Day have successfully represented clients whose diabetes has been mismanaged both in hospitals and in the community and calls on the NHS to improve its approach to the care and management of people suffering from diabetes in the UK.  The NAO estimates that through better management of people with diabetes, the NHS could save £170 million a year.  The effective care of patients with diabetes involves taking a multi-disciplinary approach, including the monitoring of podiatry care and the development of ulcers to prevent unnecessary amputation.  Leigh Day has acted for a number of clients suffering with a combination of conditions, including diabetes, whose care has been compromised because not enough attention was paid to their diabetes. 

Diabetic coma

Sally Jean Nicholes secured a six-figure sum of compensation for a retired man who was brain damaged when he fell into a diabetic coma in hospital after hospital staff failed to act on the results of tests.  He was admitted to hospital for surgery after which his blood sugar levels started to fall which should have prompted medical staff to provide him with supplements.  He fell into a diabetic coma and sustained brain damage which left him dependent on other people for the most simple tasks.   

Diabetic ketoacidosis

Suzanne White successfully secured compensation for the partner of Adam Bell who died at his home. A post mortem and toxicology report confirmed that he had died of diabetic ketoacidosis as a result of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes.  Adam had been unwell and losing weight for a number of weeks.  When his condition deteriorated rapidly he called a GP for a home visit and told him he was hallucinating, was terribly thirsty, was hyperventilating, lethargic and urinating excessively.  Despite these symptoms Adam’s GP failed to test for diabetes and Adam later died at home.

To speak to a member of the medical negligence team about a possible claim relating to your diabetes care please phone on 020 7650 1200 and ask to speak to the clinical negligence new client enquiry team.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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