NHS nursing staff require more training to better manage the needs of patients with diabetes, according to a new study.
Carried out by charity group Diabetes UK, the report gathered data from 200 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in England and found that 60 per cent of respondents did not fund specific diabetes training for healthcare professionals, reports the Nursing Times.
Moreover, 44 per cent of CCGs said they did not assign time for healthcare professionals to undertake diabetes-related training or development - despite the well-documented recent rise in the number of patients diagnosed with the disease.
Responding to the findings, the charity raised concerns that this state of affairs is harming the ability of non-specialists - such as practice nurses, general ward staff and care home nurses - to adequately care for diabetes patients.
Although nurses will soon be required to demonstrate their fitness to practise and continuing professional development every three years via the Nursing and Midwifery Council's new revalidation system, Diabetes UK has proposed that a national competency framework specific to diabetes could be a beneficial additional step.
This would provide clear guidance for all NHS employers to help identify staff who are in need of diabetes training, as well as offering guidance on how and when it should be provided.
Simon O'Neill, director of health intelligence and professional liaison at Diabetes UK, said: "Diabetes already costs the NHS an incredible amount of money - around £10 billion a year - but money should be invested more wisely, beginning with ensuring that healthcare staff who treat people with diabetes have the right training and skills.
"While we appreciate that some CCGs are setting examples of good practice in diabetes training provision… we want to see a national diabetes competency framework."
According to a recent study from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, £2.2 million a day is spent on diabetes drugs in primary care. This is 5.1 per cent higher than last year, and the figure could rise further due to the ongoing increase in the number of UK patients being diagnosed as diabetic.
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