Care gap means young diabetics risk serious complications

Young people with diabetes are 'falling through the gap' between child and adult services and putting them at risk of serious complications, research has shown.

Young diabetic woman injecting herself with insulin to regulate her blood sugar levels (Photograph: SPL)
Young diabetic woman injecting herself with insulin to regulate her blood sugar levels (Photograph: SPL)

Only a fifth of young adults aged 16-24 in England are getting all the health processes and services advised by NICE, according to a study presented at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2012 in Glasgow.

Diabetes UK said poor management in young adults increases the risk of life-threatening complications in life. It urged the NHS to better integrate services.

Lead researcher Dr Bob Young of Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester, said: 'This study not only shows a gap in care for young people, but also highlights the negative outcomes this can have in the way of serious health problems.'

Simon O'Neill, director of care, policy and intelligence at Diabetes UK, said young people were falling off the radar when moving between paediatric and adult care because services were not sufficiently integrated. 'When the time comes to leave paediatric care, young people with diabetes should know exactly what to expect as they make that step.'

He added: 'By improving healthcare at this stage of life, the NHS can help prevent the huge emotional and financial cost of them developing complication such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation.'

  • Our reporter Stephen Robinson will be reporting from the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2012 on 7 and 8 March. Follow him on Twitter on @sh_robinson, and follow the event hashtag at #dpc12

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