‘Comprehensive support’ needed for people diagnosed with diabetes

Mark H Durkan.
Mark H Durkan.

SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has said robust comprehensive support is needed for people diagnosed with diabetes and has urged everyone to familiarise themselves with the condition, this Diabetes Awareness Month.

Speaking ahead of World Diabetes Day on November 14, he said: “There are over 100,000 people in Northern Ireland living with diabetes, including thousands who aren’t aware or haven’t had a diagnosis. With trends continuing to show an increase in the condition, it’s important that everyone familiarises themselves with the symptoms and treatments available.

“We also need to prepare our Health Service for an increase in diagnoses and ensure that frontline professionals are aware of the range of treatment options available.

“It is important to note that three-in-five cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed- the available models of care must be updated to reflect that fact.

“It is my opinion that revenue generated through the sugar tax, should be ring-fenced and spent on tackling this condition and others associated with it, such as obesity. For too long, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, the serious healthcare outcomes for people living with it, and the costs associated with treating it have gone increasingly unchecked. Evidently, delivering effective diabetes services demands a joined-up approach working on a cross-departmental basis.”

He continued:“We must also consider that whilst diabetes places physical stress on the body, managing the condition can also take a significant toll on mental and emotional wellbeing. Those with diabetes often report how relentless it can feel. Clinics or check-ups should include an element of mental and emotional resilience care to ensure people are coping well.

“Care for diabetes is improving and if well managed, people can live full and active lifestyles. But we can do more to enhance the quality of life for everyone diagnosed with the condition and all of us can help by learning more during diabetes month.”