Ribble Valley MP urged to end diabetes care postcode lottery

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans meets Gordon Dixon
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans meets Gordon Dixon

A campaigner has met with Nigel Evans MP calling him to back Diabetes UK’s call for Government action to end the postcode lottery of diabetes healthcare, which is fuelling a major health crisis.

Gordon Dixon, who has Type 2 diabetes, travelled to Westminster to meet the Ribble Valley MP as part of a lobbying event organised by Diabetes UK to launch its State of the Nation 2013 report.

The report revealed that a postcode lottery of diabetes healthcare in England is fuelling a major health crisis. The report also shows that while there have been improvements in some aspects of care – such as more people meeting the target level for blood pressure – in some aspects of care, things have got worse.

The charity is urging the Government and NHS England to carry out a review into why the quality of healthcare varies so much between areas and put in place an action plan to improve healthcare for people living in the worst performing areas.

Gordon Dixon, chairman of Ribble Valley Diabetic Group, said: “I was delighted to meet with Nigel Evans as it gave me the chance to raise my concerns about diabetes healthcare.

“Diabetes is a serious condition, but too many people with diabetes both here in Ribble Valley and across the country are not getting the essential care they need to manage their condition, which is leading to devastating complications such as blindness and amputations. In particular, in East Lancashire figures suggest that we may have some of the highest rates of amputations in the region. We also have had problems with people with diabetes being refused access to blood glucose test strips which makes it almost impossible for them to manage their condition. “I have directly appealed to Nigel Evans to demand that health leaders ensure the resources are in place in Ribble Valley so that people living with diabetes have access to good healthcare no matter where they live.”

Robin Hewings, Diabetes UK Head of Policy, said: “We are pleased that Gordon has come to London to make the case to MPs that they need to insist that the level of diabetes care improves.

“Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the country today and the number of people with the condition is expected to rise to five million by 2025. Yet, our State of the Nation report shows that many people with the condition are being let down by a postcode lottery of care that is fuelling a health crisis.

He added: “Across the country there is a major missed opportunity in people with diabetes getting structured education. It helps people to self-manage their diabetes well by giving them the skills, knowledge and motivation to take control of their diabetes.” “This is why we are calling for a Government action to ensure that all areas of the country provide excellent standards. With access to high quality care, patient education and effective diabetes management, there is no reason why people with diabetes should not live long and healthy lives.”

The State of the Nation report can be downloaded at www.diabetes.org.uk.

MP Nigel Evans with campaigner Gordon Dixon. (s)