What’s going on?
Leading patient group Diabetes UK this month slammed cutbacks in NHS diabetes treatment as ‘shortsighted’ by highlighting the results of a specially commissioned survey. Its research suggested that service reductions are putting patients’ health at risk.
How did Diabetes UK get the story out?
Media relations work was timed to coincide with the group’s annual professional conference in Glasgow, which attracted 3,000 medical professionals with diabetes specialisms. Trade publications which picked up the story included Independent Nurse, Nursing Times, BMA News and Nursing Standard. Senior PRO Maria Lamb oversaw the report. She reports to Diabetes UK’s acting head of press Angela Style.
Does it have agency support?
This was a purely in-house operation, although new agency InHouse PR is continuing to handle interim media and public affairs work for the charity. The agency’s co-founder Katie Perrior is working on strategy around three projects for Diabetes UK this year.
With what did the charity back up its claims?
More than half of specialist diabetes nurses surveyed said they spent less time with patients and that there were increasing delays in seeing specialists. One in three reported an increase in hospital admissions, with one in four saying emergency admissions – which could have been avoided if patients had been able to see a specialist – were up.
Does everyone agree with Diabetes UK?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Department of Health has its own slant on the state of diabetes treatment in the UK. In its own publication The Way Ahead: The Local Challenge, also out this month, it says that diagnosis of diabetes is improving, and it wants the NHS ‘step up to the challenge’ of providing individual care. The government highlighted local initiatives such as weight management programmes in Cleveland and screening vulnerable communities in Bradford.
What’s the scale of the problem?
Around two million people are known to have diabetes in the UK but estimates suggest another 750,000 people are undiagnosed. Around 90 per cent of sufferers have Type 2 diabetes, where the body cannot produce enough insulin (rather than no insulin at all, as in the much rarer Type 1).
For further information visit www.diabetes.org.uk or www.dh.gov.uk