Report Condemns Diabetes Care in UK Hospitals

A leading diabetes doctor documents how hospitals fail to protect the health of patients with diabetes.



The quality of diabetes care implemented at hospitals for inpatients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the UK is less than satisfactory, according to a Diabetes Times (UK) article. Dr. Gerry Rayman, services director for Ipswich Hospital’s diabetes center, has strongly advised that the National Health Service (NHS) take immediate action to correct diabetes care problems in hospitals across the UK.

Problems included:

  • People with diabetes had an 8%-10% higher mortality rate than the general hospitalized population
  • 20% of people with diabetes experienced an episode of hypoglycemia while hospitalized
  • 37% of people with diabetes experienced medication errors while hospitalized
  • The hospital system failed to reduce instances of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a condition caused by very high blood sugar levels

Hospital care is so poor that Rayman described it as worse than the care available in other “first world” countries. Rayman says that hospitals need to implement special diabetes-focused protocols for inpatients, as they already do for patients who have experienced a stroke or hospital infection. Once this is done, inpatient care would get better, and the length of stay for patients with diabetes would decrease, he says.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, says it’s important that the NHS ensure that all hospitals have a fully staffed inpatient diabetes team on site. This would ensure that blood glucose levels are adequately monitored and that meals are delivered on a balanced schedule. Hospitals that didn’t have such diabetes teams ended up spending three times the amount to treat patients with diabetes than hospitals that have a diabetes team.

Such a finding might appeal to the UK government, which has been trying to cut NHS costs as part of a series of austerity measures.

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Travis served as a staff writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation in 2015. Previously, he was a staff writer for Insight, a high school newspaper, as well as a copywriter for The Emersonian, Emerson's yearbook.