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Child diabetes care needs to get better

8th February 2010

A charity has warned that thousands of children are being admitted to hospital as emergency cases because of poorly managed diabetes.

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Diabetes UK said that a large proportion of the 3,300 cases in 2008/09 would have been preventable if the condition had been managed more efficiently.

The charity said that many parents found it difficult to get advice from specialist diabetes staff and the high amount of admissions could be associated with cuts in services.

Around 25,000 young people in the UK are thought to have type 1 diabetes. They need to inject themselves with insulin on a daily basis and keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels.

If the condition is not managed properly, a complication called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can occur. This can cause vomiting, breathing difficulties and coma or death if it is not dealt with quickly.

The data showed that the number of admissions had increased by 9% since 2006.

Douglas Smallwood, Diabetes UK's chief executive, said: "It's shocking to see such high numbers of children being rushed to A&E with this life-threatening condition."

"Children and their parents desperately need better access to paediatric specialist diabetes teams."

A Department of Health spokesperson said the National Clinical Directors for Children and Diabetes were collaborating so they could tackle variations in treatment in England: "It is vital that all children and young people with diabetes have access to the right education, advice and support from a paediatric specialist diabetes team."

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