The NHS Long Term Plan document was published in January outlining the direction of the NHS over the coming years. Speaking about it at the time, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said, “The NHS has been marking its 70th anniversary, and the national debate has rightly centred on three big truths. There’s been pride in our health service’s enduring success, and in the shared social commitment it represents. There’s been concern – about funding, staffing, increasing inequalities and pressures from a growing and ageing population. And there’s also been legitimate optimism – about the possibilities for continuing medical advance and better outcomes of care.
“In looking ahead to the Health Service’s 80th birthday, this NHS Long Term Plan acts on all three of these realities. It keeps all that’s good about our health service and its place in our national life. It tackles head-on the pressures our staff face. And it sets a practical, costed, phased route map for the NHS’s priorities for care quality and outcomes improvement for the decade ahead.”
Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK respond to NHS England’s Long Term Plan, saying, “We are really pleased with NHS England’s commitment to maintaining the focus on diabetes care and Type 2 prevention. We hope this will build on the good work already done, and further reduce the variations in the quality of diabetes care across England in terms of access to education, treatment targets, inpatient care and footcare.
“The plan confirms recent NHS England announcements of a Type 2 diabetes remission pilot, the doubling of the Diabetes Prevention Programme, and the funding of Flash Glucose Monitoring technology for those who qualify for it, including a target of 25% of people living with Type 1 diabetes. We also welcome the commitment to developing networks to improve the care for children with long term conditions, which builds on existing work for children with diabetes. While the overall standard of care has been improving, there is still great variation between services, and therefore huge scope for further improvement.
Commenting further on behalf of Diabetes UK, the charity’s Head of Policy, Robin Hewings, said, “NHS England kicked off the New Year by publishing in full their long-awaited NHS Long Term Plan. This plan will set the direction of the NHS in England for the next five years, and explains how the service will spend its new £20bn cash injection. At Diabetes UK we’ve been working hard, both publicly and behind the scenes, to ensure that this plan promises better care for people with and at risk of diabetes. We’re pleased to report that on diabetes, the plan seems to deliver.
“The full document also gives much needed assurances that existing funding to transform diabetes care across England will be continued, although we don’t currently know whether this will be at the same levels.”
The Long Term Plan included new commitments from NHS England regarding diabetes:
• Ensuring that everyone who could benefit from flash glucose monitoring (in line with clinical guidance) will have access to it, as well as offering continuous glucose monitoring to all pregnant women with Type 1 diabetes.
• Testing a programme of 800 calorie a day diets for people with obesity and Type 2 diabetes. This expands on the Diabetes UK DiRECT trial, which at the end of its first year showed that these diets – with the right support – can help some people to achieve remission.
• Doubling the size of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme over the next five years, including digital approaches, reaching more people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The Long Term Plan also confirmed that existing national work to transform treatment and care for people with diabetes will continue, rolling out tried and tested approaches in key areas of care. Specifically:
• Expanding provision of structured education and digital self-management support tools for people who are newly diagnosed with Type 1 or 2 diabetes.
• Ensuring that in future all hospitals provide access to multidisciplinary foot care teams and diabetes inpatient specialist nursing teams.
• Continuing to invest in supporting delivery in primary care, enabling people to achieve their recommended treatment targets and drive down variation across England.
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