Charity calls for increase in diabetes education in RCT on World Diabetes Day

Diabetes UK Cymru is calling on Cwm Taf University Health Board to provide more education for the growing number of people living with diabetes in Rhondda Cynon Taf.


More people than ever have been diagnosed with the condition in Rhondda Cynon Taf and ahead of this World Diabetes Day (14 November), the charity is launching a new Taking Control campaign to raise awareness of the huge difference diabetes education courses can make. According to the charity most people with diabetes only spend around three hours a year with their healthcare professional. For the remaining 8,757 hours they are managing their condition themselves, which is why it is vital they are armed with the knowledge and skills to control their diabetes well.


Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams said: “Being diagnosed with diabetes is serious.  Without having some form of education is like being thrown into the deep end without ever having a swimming lesson.”


Pontypridd’s Chris Callan is backing the new national campaign highlighting the importance of diabetes education. Chris, 39, was diagnosed 11 years ago with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition that has nothing to do with being overweight. This means that he has to balance his diet and exercise with taking continuous doses of insulin through a pump. He has attended a DAFNE education course, given by his local diabetes healthcare team.


He said: “Going on the course has changed my life for the better, because diabetes is a condition that affects your whole life and learning how to manage it is so important.


“Speaking to experts and other people living with diabetes helped me realise that I don’t have to cut any particular food out of my diet and that I can get good control of my diabetes. I want everyone in Wales to have the same opportunity.”


Diabetes education courses can help people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes take better control of their condition, giving them the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives.


There are currently long waiting lists across the country for diabetes education, a freedom of information (FOI) request has revealed. The charity is concerned that a lack of education for people living with diabetes will, in the long-term, result in high rates of potentially avoidable but devastating complications such as amputation, blindness and stroke.


Beyond the human suffering, this places a costly burden on NHS Wales, with 80 per cent of the £500 million it spends annually on diabetes being used to treat these complications.


Dai Williams said: “We are urging Cwm Taf University Health Board to make sure they are giving people living with diabetes in their area access to courses that can change their lives for the better. People who have just been diagnosed with diabetes or who have been living with the condition for some time, can find it difficult to successfully manage the condition. But by attending a diabetes education course, they can feel empowered to take control and manage their condition with confidence.


“There is strong evidence that when people with diabetes are equipped with the knowledge and skills to manage their condition effectively, they can improve their quality of life. They can also reduce their risk of developing avoidable complications, such as kidney disease, stroke and amputation. These are not only personally devastating, but also expensive to treat. Diabetes costs the NHS in Wales £500 million a year, 80 per cent of which is spent on managing avoidable complications. But by giving people the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes effectively, we can reduce their long-term risk of complications and reduce the cost burden on the NHS.


“We have launched our Taking Control campaign to highlight the importance of good quality diabetes education. We want to encourage everyone with diabetes in the area to go and ask their healthcare professional for information about a diabetes education course. The campaign also calls on the NHS to make sure that everyone with diabetes has access to the education and support they need to manage their diabetes well. Everyone with diabetes should have access to education from the moment of diagnosis and then throughout their lives."


The Taking Control campaign has been launched this week ahead of World Diabetes Day on Saturday 14 November. Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #TakingControl.


To find out more about going on an education course, speak to your GP or healthcare professional. To find out more about the Taking Control campaign and to take action to ensure everyone with diabetes has access to diabetes education, visitwww.diabetes.org.uk/taking-control

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