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Report seeks to address inequalities in diabetes care

The UK’s health system requires systematic, long-term changes to tackle inequalities in diabetes care, according to a new report by Diabetes UK.

A report containing a series of recommendations for healthcare professionals and policy-makers to deliver the changes needed to reduce inequalities in diabetes care has been published. Diabetes UK set up the Tackling Inequalities Commission of experts to address the poor access to care that some people with diabetes face.

It is recognised that diabetes does not affect everyone equally. The chances of developing type 2 diabetes, the care a person living with any type of diabetes receives and their long-term outcomes is affected by their ethnicity, where they live and their income. If a person is from an ethnic minority or living in deprivation, access to life-changing diabetes technology is far less likely.  

To help understand where barriers to improvement exist, the Commission invited a diverse group of people living with diabetes and most affected by health inequalities to share their experiences. Input was also gathered from frontline healthcare professionals, community organisations and experts in social policy, health economics and public health.

Based around guiding principles, the Commission’s report sets out “calls to action” across seven areas. These include for organisations to be bold in their commitment to practices that are anti-racist. Working with communities, policies and practices should be reviewed to understand where there is a need to improve and adapt services to make them accessible to all ethnicities.

Organisations are also encouraged to understand and address deprivation, and the impact that it has on managing diabetes. As well as being more likely to develop a long-term condition, people living in deprivation are more likely to be caught up in NHS pressures, such as longer waiting lists.

The importance of working in partnership with local community organisations in a sustained way, through procurement, inclusion and consultation, is a theme that runs throughout the report.  

It concludes by acknowledging the pressures faced by healthcare professionals in the UK and the progress that has been made. While inequalities faced by those living with diabetes are complex, interwoven and individual, the Commission hopes that the report provides a case for change, evidence to provoke conversation and practical steps to reduce the harm that diabetes creates.

An executive summary of the report can be read here, and the full report accessed here.

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