Diabetes community urges more support for older people 

Monday, 30 September, 2013

Leading representatives from the diabetes community have called for the NHS not to turn its back on older people with the condition – following a report staff training has been withdrawn from a care home.

Speaking ahead of Older People’s Day (October 1) Professor Alan Sinclair, director of the Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP), believes this ‘vulnerable’ group needs more ‘protection’ amid changes to health services.

Jenny Hirst, co-chair of the InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT), has added her support, claiming a recent call to the charity from a care home which had its district nurse withdraw her training could be a “symptom” of the national picture.

It comes ahead of the release of the results from the first-ever National Care Home Diabetes Audit, which are due out on October 4. The research was carried out by IDOP in partnership with ABCD (Association of British Clinical Diabetologists) and a group of further key collaborators (listed below).

Professor Sinclair, the audit lead, said: “Older people in care homes are an especially-vulnerable group of people. We already know that as many as 27 per cent of all care home residents have diabetes and an increasing amount of evidence is suggesting that the diabetes care delivered by care homes is substandard. We are using Older People’s Day to highlight these concerns because older people with diabetes in care homes may need protecting.”

Jenny Hirst added: “Through no fault of their own, many care homes are underfunded and have very little access to the training necessary to manage diabetes. We are worried that the NHS is now starting to turn its back on them amid increasing cuts to frontline services. If district nurses are unable to support and train care home staff to give insulin, then we’re in trouble. The vast majority of care home staff are unable to legally give the drug, so where does that leave the person with diabetes.”

The IDDT, in partnership IDOP and the English Community Care Association (ECCA), launched a ‘Passport’ for people with diabetes in care settings earlier this year.

The passport is intended to be used in settings such as residential homes to provide carers with vital information about their clients’ diabetes needs. To order copies, email [email protected].


Notes to editors

  • Older People’s Day aims to celebrate the achievements and contributions that older people make to our society and tackle negative attitudes and outdated stereotypes.
  • The Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP) is a non-profit making, research and academic institution dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of all older people with diabetes and related metabolic illness. For more information about, visit: http://instituteofdiabetes.org.
  • The organisations supporting the Care Home Diabetes Audit 2012 include Diabetes Health Intelligence, the Royal College of General Practitioners, NHS Diabetes, Age UK, the Royal College of Nursing, English Community Care Association and Diabetes UK.
  • The InDependent Diabetes Trust is a UK-based charity listening to people with diabetes and their carers and supporting their needs. For more information, visit: https://www.iddt.org/.
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