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Diabetes patients “failed by NHS”

Diabetics are being failed by doctors and nurses who are too ready to prescribe drugs rather than follow treatment guidelines, it is alleged.

Dr Rob Andrews will tell the Diabetes UK’s Annual Professional Conference in Glasgow that lack of training, too few dieticians and government targets are largely to blame.

International and UK guidelines say that weight-management and exercise advice should be given before medication is prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes.

But a study to be presented by Dr Andrews has found that a third of newly-diagnosed patients are being given pills within the first month of the condition being diagnosed.

He says: “If you don’t give patients the chance to understand their disease, and don’t let them try and control it with diet and exercise, evidence shows that for all the time they have diabetes, they don’t focus on diet and exercise.

“We know that during diagnosis is the time when people may actually take action on those things.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “Prescribed medication is vital to enable many people with diabetes to manage their condition on a day-to-day basis and to reduce their risk of developing complications such as heart attack and stroke.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

Diabetes UK