The Diabetes Network for Northern Ireland has received £2.6m funding to improve the lives of those living with diabetes and those at risk of developing diabetes.
Diabetes affects over 90,000 people here. By 2027, around 45,000 more people will be living with Type 2 diabetes in Northern Ireland.
The Network, which comprises people living with diabetes, clinicians and healthcare workers across all Health and Social Care organisations and Diabetes UK (NI), works to improve the standard of care and services available within Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the funding announcement, Valerie Watts, Chief Executive of the Health and Social Care Board and Interim Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency, said: “I am delighted to announce that the Diabetes Network for NI has received £2.6M funding to improve care programmes for people with diabetes through innovative new schemes in 2018/19. One of the key initiatives planned this year is a new care pathway for foot disease across all five Trusts. Problems with foot care are some of the main contributors to amputation and disability for people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
The Public Health Agency is also contributing to work to help prevent diabetes for the estimated 25,000 people in NI who are currently at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. They are providing support through obesity prevention programmes, such as Weight to a Healthy Pregnancy, Active Schools Travel, Food in Schools programme, and the development of a regional diabetes prevention programme.
In addition to the funding announcement, the Network is delighted to have helped to recently introduce Flash Glucose Monitoring free on prescription here in Northern Ireland – a blood glucose monitoring device for children and adults living with Type 1 diabetes. This technology makes living with diabetes easier because it makes testing simple by reducing the time taken to check blood sugar from minutes to seconds and without the need for frequent finger pricks.
Mrs Watts added: “The Network is leading the way in the UK by introducing this new device for Type 1 diabetes patients across Northern Ireland 25% of patients with Type 1 diabetes in NI have already been prescribed the device and this is to be further rolled out in the months ahead.”
Jillian Patchett, National Director of Diabetes UK (NI), said, “It is welcome news that the Diabetes Network will receive further funding to help deliver what was outlined in the Diabetes Strategic Framework. Delivery is key and it needs to happen quickly and efficiently.
“People living with diabetes rightfully expect a healthcare service that can provide the services and support they need to better manage their condition and avoid serious diabetes-related complications. The introduction of Flash technology on prescription and the footcare pathway are successes but we need to ensure that these services continue to grow to meet the demand for them. We look forward to further positive outcomes being delivered by the Diabetes Network.”
The Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland Dr Michael McBride also welcomed the additional funding: “With 3000 new cases of diabetes diagnosed annually in Northern Ireland it is vital that we continue to invest across the key priorities for diabetes care. The additional resources will enhance the quality of care for people living with the condition and reduce the risk of developing complications.”