Charity welcomes call for children and young people with suspected diabetes to see a specialist immediately
Diabetes UK Cymru is backing new standards to make sure that any child or young person suspected of having diabetes is sent to hospital straight away to see a specialist.
The new quality standards, published by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), means that same day referral for suspected diabetes is part of the care that should be provided in diagnosing and managing diabetes in children and young people.
The charity is currently leading a national campaign to help raise public awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, which include feeling tired, thirsty, losing weight and needing to urinate more frequently than usual.
These symptoms can develop very quickly which makes it important that children are diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Delays in diagnosing Type 1 diabetes in children and young people can lead to severe health problems and in some cases even death. However, with the right support and management children with the condition can go on to live long and healthy lives.
Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams said: “We welcome this quality standard from NICE for children and young people with diabetes. We’re doing lots of work in Wales to raise awareness of the benefits of prompt diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes in children and young people so we’re really pleased to see that NICE are highlighting this. In particular we’re working to emphasise the importance of doing an immediate finger prick blood test on any child who has any of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes or an unexplained illness.
“The vast majority of children with diabetes in Wales have Type 1 diabetes, which has nothing to do with being overweight and can’t be prevented. We want as many people as possible to be able spot the symptoms so that they can get the treatment and support that they need.
“Amongst other things this standard highlights the importance of GPs immediately referring children and young people with suspected diabetes so that they can be seen by a specialist on the same day. It also recommends intensive insulin treatment for children and young people with Type 1 diabetes to enable better blood glucose control, and the need for access to psychological services.
“All health boards in Wales need to make sure that they have the appropriate level of staffing and services they need to make sure that children and young people living with diabetes have the best possible start in life and live long and healthy lives.”
The new quality standard states that children and young people with suspected diabetes should be referred immediately by their GP and seen on the same day by a multidisciplinary paediatric diabetes team.
It also sets out that children and young people with Type 1 diabetes should be offered intensive insulin therapy to help them maintain near normal blood glucose levels.
In addition, diabetes management should include education, support and access to psychological services.
For more information on diabetes in children please visit www.diabetes.org.uk.