Global action called to improve care for people with diabetes

Ambulance side shot

The number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries. Factors driving this dramatic rise include being overweight and obese, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced ahead of World Health Day.

The WHO marked its annual World Health Day on 7th April, which celebrated the Organization’s founding in 1948, by issuing a call for action on diabetes. In its first ‘Global report on diabetes’, WHO highlighted the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease.

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive non-communicable disease (NCD) characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar). It occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

In 2012 diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths worldwide, and last year alone here at EEAST we received calls to more than 9,000 people having a diabetic emergency – with 3,560 of those patients needing to be taken into hospital. Its complications can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.

The new report calls upon governments to ensure that people are able to make healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes.

How are we doing our bit?

In December 2014, the Eastern Academic Health Science Network (EAHSN) funded a team of project managers and educators across the east of England for two years, with the aim to reduce hospital admissions and ambulance attendances as a result of hypoglycaemia from diabetes.

Many patients with severe hypos have had limited advice on hypoglycaemia avoidance and the risks of hypoglycaemia, and GPs and hospital teams are not always made aware of patient episodes. So now, if we attend a patient having a diabetic hypo, we can refer them to our educational hypo pathway; the patient is offered education sessions with the project’s clinical educators, where the cause and future prevention of hypoglycaemic episodes are discussed, and they also receive advice leaflets to try and help prevent a reoccurring event.

Since the go-live, the project has had more than 2,200 referrals from patient-facing crews – thank you for your ongoing help and support for the project!

Helen Hall, who leads the Trust’s involvement in the project, said: “All of these referrals would not be possible without the efforts of the crews throughout the region and so a big thank you to you all. Please refer all your hypo patients whether conveyed or not – think hypo think referral!”

Want to know more? Contact Helen at

Published 15th April, 2016

Leave a Comment
Name (required)
Email Address (required, never displayed)
Enter a message

(all comments are moderated - your submission will be posted on approval.)