NHS Changes for diabetes – write to your MP NOW!
The Response To IDDT Members’ Lobbying
We would like to thank the many IDDT members who have written to their MPs about our concerns that diabetes is not being given a sufficiently prominent place in the new NHS structure. In fact, with the closure of NHS Diabetes and the new National Clinical Director taking responsibility for ‘Obesity and Diabetes’, it seems to us that diabetes, especially Type 1 diabetes, is receiving less attention than it has done previously. We would go so far as to say that obesity is so great a public health problem that it too deserves its own prominent position within the NHS.
So what happened to your letters?
- The MPs who received our members’ letters early in March, nearly all responded that they would write to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
- However, the Conservative and Liberal MPs were soon put ‘on message’ and MPs sent a standard response to you without referring the original letter to Jeremy Hunt or Anna Soubry, the Minister responsible for diabetes.
- Labour MPs and those from other parties, generally referred the letter to Jeremy Hunt or responded that they understood our concerns and would be keeping a watchful eye on the situation.
What did we find out from the responses?
The key points from Anna Soubry, the Minister responsible for diabetes:
- The government is committed to the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. “Last year we issued our Mandate to NHS England; this document established our priorities for the NHS and diabetes is a key priority within the Mandate”.
- She has met with Diabetes UK on many occasions and helped to launch their new initiative with Boots that “will considerably improve early diagnosis and advice to people with the condition”.
- She has had a mobile unit in her constituency and almost 100 people were assessed in a day. She urges the MPs to consider bringing a mobile unit to their constituency.
The key points from Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health:
- The government is clear about the need to improve diabetes outcomes through better care.
- Diabetes has been included as a key priority in the mandate for NHS England and a performance indicator for diabetes and its complications is included in the NHS Outcome Framework, classified under long-term conditions.
- NHS England makes it clear to service providers [presumably GPs and hospitals] that people with diabetes or at risk of diabetes, receive care in accordance with the guidelines produced by NICE. This includes receiving education and support, appropriate tests to ensure that complications are identified at the earliest opportunity and managed appropriately and where possible, diabetes is prevented with lifestyle changes and increased physical activity.
- Dr Jonathan Valabhji has been appointed National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity and he is well aware of the different needs of people with all types of diabetes.
- The move of the responsibilities of NHS Diabetes into a larger national body, NHS Improving Quality [NHS IQ], [along with all main improvement agencies] will ensure that the expertise and contribution of the staff being moved into NHS IQ will have an even bigger impact across the whole of the NHS.
What interpretation can we put on all this?
I’ll resist the temptation to comment on the implication from Anna Soubry that Boots will sort out the problems or on the unfairness of her failing to mention the many other pharmacies that have been offering services to people with diabetes for some time!
It seems that there is nothing new, except the organisations and the terminology. The organisations that provide the care and treatment for people with diabetes should provide the NICE recommended levels of care – the 9 key health checks. Well, that’s been the case for sometime now. The National Audit of Adults with Diabetes has shown that it’s not really happening in many areas and the care of people with diabetes has shown no improvement.
The promise that the demise of NHS Diabetes and shift to NHS IQ will have an impact across the whole of the NHS – let’s hope this is a positive impact. Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director, has stated that ‘the key themes of NHS IQ are generic eg early diagnosis, integrated care and rehabilitation’, which means that they are not diabetes or disease specific, so we will wait and see…
We also have to hope that one of the actions that does continue to take place is the National Audit for Diabetes, only this way can improvements or reductions in care be measured and known, although it is not clear who is going to carry this out, NHS IQ?
What have we, as members of IDDT achieved?
- We have let MPs and government know that we, people who live with diabetes, are here, we are concerned and we will be watching the performance and results of the changes.
- We have made MPs aware that diabetes care needs improvement and we are not convinced that the NHS changes are going to bring this about.
- IDDT now has quotable statements directly from the Secretary of State for Health about what care we have to receive, so if we don’t, either the system or the providers are failing people with diabetes.
- Dr Valabhji’s official title states ‘National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes’ but both Anna Soubry and Jeremy Hunt have changed it round to ‘Diabetes and Obesity’. One would have thought they would have got this right, or is the change in response to our comments?
- We have let MPs and Government know that Diabetes UK is not the only organisation they should consult and there are other organisations with significant concerns, which may or may not differ from those of Diabetes UK.
- Interestingly IDDT has been invited to attend two meetings in the House of Commons about diabetes care. This has not happened before, so is this coincidence or thanks to your lobbying?
The next step is to wait and watch. I’d welcome hearing from you if you notice improvements or otherwise in the care of your diabetes or its complications – just email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 01604 622837.
NHS Changes for diabetes – write to your MP NOW!
It is a long time since we asked you to take action and lobby your MP but we firmly believe that the time has now come to act. We need to draw politicians’ attention to the NHS reorganisations which can only be seen as reducing diabetes as a priority health condition. This will be harmful to the health and welfare of people with diabetes both now and in the future and will increase the costs to the NHS.
Type 1 and Type 2 are both serious long-term conditions but both are different from other long-term conditions because they have to be very much self-managed on a day to day basis for which ongoing education and support is essential. Only with this education and support, will the health of people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes be improved and the costs to the NHS be reduced.
With both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes being on the increase, we need diabetes to continue to be a category on its own within the NHS national structure.
Please help IDDT to raise these important issues to try to ensure that people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes receive the improvements in care and treatment that are necessary and to ensure that people with Type 1 diabetes are not lost in the system.
We need you to write to your MP, either by letter or email.
We are attaching a draft letter for you to either copy or preferably to add your views and experiences e.g. if you haven’t been part of an education programme to which everyone with diabetes is entitled or you haven’t received your 9 health checks recommended by NICE, say so. Overleaf are guidelines about how to find out the details of your MP and how to lobby him/her.
Please help us to improve the services for people with diabetes by contacting your MP NOW!
Jenny Hirst, on behalf of the Board of Trustees of IDDT
We are asking you to write to your MP NOW!
To help you we are providing 3 documents