“Shocking” numbers of children with diabetes in A&E
Charity says children with diabetes need better access to specialist diabetic care
8th February 2010 - 3,300 children were admitted to hospital Accident and
Emergency units in England last year with a potentially fatal diabetes
The figures have been compiled by the health charity, Diabetes UK.
It says the condition, known as diabetic ketoacidosis, occurs when the
body’s cells are unable to get enough glucose because levels of glucose in the
blood are too high. The body begins to use stores of fat as an alternative
source of energy and this in turn produces an acidic by-product known as
9% rise in complication
Ketones are harmful and the body tries to get rid of them by excreting them
in urine. Diabetic ketoacidosis causes nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, rapid
breathing and, if left untreated, may lead to coma and death. People developing
the complication require hospital treatment.
Diabetes UK says children accounted for around a quarter of the 13,465
emergency admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis during the 12-months to March
2009. The numbers of admissions because of the complication have gone up by
nearly 9% since 2006.
Diabetes UK says it’s concerned that diabetic ketoacidosis is becoming more
prolific because type 1 diabetes is not being diagnosed early enough. It’s
calling for better access to specialist care.
Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, tells us by email that
“It’s shocking to see such high numbers of children being rushed to A&amp;E
with this life-threatening complication. We know from our previous research
that specialist diabetes staff report an increase in emergency hospital
admissions whenever there are cuts in services.
“Better access” to specialist care
“Children and their parents desperately need better access to paediatric
specialist diabetes teams. The number of emergency admissions could be reduced
significantly with investment in appropriate care, diabetes advice and
practical self-management support. The quality of life for children with
diabetes is at stake so we must act now.”
The charity says the UK has the fourth highest incidence of type 1 diabetes
in children in Europe and the lowest number of children attaining good diabetes