Young people in England and Wales with diabetes are not getting their health checks.
The study, carried out by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, reveals that almost 75% of older children in England and Wales with diabetes are not getting key health checks.
The study analysed data from 27,682 children and young people. The results showed that only 25.4% of 12-year-olds have the seven recommended annual health checks.
Despite the results, however, the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health, said that there is an overall improvement in health care.
Regular checks prevent future complications
The guidelines provided by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) state that all children with diabetes should have their blood sugar levels checked every year.
The guidelines also state that children over the age of 12 should have six other annual health checks.
The seven health checks include diabetes, measures of growth, blood pressure, kidney function, cholesterol, eye screening and foot examination.
The data for the study included children and young people with diabetes up to the age of 24. Nearly all had type 1 diabetes, which required daily injections of insulin.
All the participants went to paediatric diabetes units in England and Wales between April 2014 and the end of March 2015.
The 2014/15 National Paediatric Diabetes Audit of youngsters in England and Wales found that those achieving “excellent diabetes control” increased from 15.8% in 2012-13 to 23.5% in 2014-15.
The level equivalent to a blood glucose level of less than 7.5% is considered as “excellent diabetes control”.
The report showed that 23% were now reducing their risk of future complications from the disease.
Dr Justin Warner, consultant in paediatric endocrinology and diabetes at the University Hospital of Wales and clinical lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said,
“They form part of a lifetime of screening for complications which, if recognised early, are amenable to interventions that reduce progression.”
The report showed that high numbers of children over the age of 12 were already showing signs of early complications.
Also, the children and young people in the deprived areas had worse blood glucose test results, as compared to those living in more affluent areas.
Bridget Turner, director of policy and care improvement at Diabetes UK, said,
“There remains considerable variation in the level of care provided.
“This is very worrying because if children and young people are not supported to manage their diabetes well in early life, they are more likely to be at risk of debilitating and life-threatening complications in adult life such as amputations, blindness and stroke.”
She said it was necessary that parents of children and young people with diabetes were supported to help them deal with the illness.
The health checks of children with diabetes is especially important, since young people with type 1 diabetes are at increased risk of kidney disease and blindness.
Charity Diabetes UK said young people must receive support early in life.