MORE than 9,500 people across Caerphilly county borough have diabetes and another 3,700 could have the disease but be unaware of it.

The latest figures show that across Wales more than 167,000 people here have been diagnosed with either Type One or Type Two diabetes, while a further 66,000 probably have the disease, but remain undiagnosed.

An Assembly committee has reported that for these and thousands more people throughout Wales, services need to be improved.

The National Service Framework (NSF) for diabetes in Wales, introduced 10 years ago, was intended to introduce a more equitable system of treatment and care for diabetes patients, no matter where in Wales they live.

The report on the 10 years stresses that progress has been made, but there remains much to be achieved, and the committee is critical of several areas of provision of treatment and care.

These are addressed in 13 recommendations, which the committee hopes will be used in a forthcoming delivery plan for Wales’ diabetes services.

They include:

● Strengthened monitoring of services patients can expect to receive, through a national leadership post to co-ordinate health boards’ progress on tackling diabetes;
● A requirement for all GP practices to take part in the National Diabetes Audit;
● A requirement for patients to be offered all nine key annual health checks;
● A bigger role for pharmacies in conducting risk assessments and a direct role in future public health campaigns;
● Insulin pump therapy and accompanying education should be available to all suitable patients, with training to be improved;
● The introduction of the ThinkGlucose programme in all hospitals, to boost care for diabetes patients on wards;
● An audit of specialist diabetes nurses and consideration of the introduction of recommended numbers per head of population.

Dai Williams, director of Diabetes UK Cymru, called the report “an important step towards improving the standards of care and support for people with diabetes in Wales”.

“We estimate that by 2025 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes will have grown to 288,000. It is now up to Welsh Government and health boards to take the next vital steps and ensure these recommendations become a reality,” he said.