Published on 23 March 2017

The number of people with diabetes making hospital visits has risen according to a recently published audit.

The National Diabetes Inpatient Audit (NaDIA) for 2016 found that the proportion of people with diabetes in hospital was up 2% over the last five years, with an increase from 15% in 2011 to 17% in 2016.

The number of people who were seen by specialist diabetes teams was also reported to have risen from 58% to 69% over the last five years.

Although improvements in care have been made since 2011, the report highlighted key areas where there have been consistently poor standards of care; for example, the proportion of people being treated with insulin reported an increase in medication management errors from 23% to 24%.

The audit provides an overview of the quality of diabetes inpatient care in hospitals across England and Wales, with 209 healthcare sites submitting figures for 15,744 inpatients compiled for the report.

The audit is part of the National Diabetes Audit (NDA) portfolio within the National Clinical Audit Programme, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).

Since 2011, NaDIA findings have shown consistently high levels of medication errors – with around two in five for people with diabetes in hospital (38% in 2016) and more frequently on surgical wards (41% in 2016).

Nearly half of people with diabetes treated with insulin also experienced errors with their insulin (46% in 2016).

It was also reported that around one in 25 people with type 1 diabetes (4% in 2016) developed diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) due to under treatment with insulin during their hospital stay - up from 3% in 2011.

The report revealed that 28% of hospitals did not have specialist nurses to support inpatients with diabetes.

Positive figures in the report included that the proportion of inpatients in England who developed a foot lesion during their stay in hospital fell from 2.2% in 2010 to 1.3% in 2016

Also, the number of cases of hypoglycaemic episodes (low blood glucose levels) decreased from 26% in 2011 to 20% in 2016.

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