Health Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced the launch of a new Strategic Framework for Diabetes in the north of Ireland.
The new Framework follows publication of a draft consultation document earlier in the year. It is also part of a series of future initiatives to support ‘Health and Well-being 2026, Delivering Together’ which aims to transform Health and Social Care (HSC) services across the north.
The Framework is published in conjunction with the formation of a new ‘Diabetes Network’ for the north. The network will enable people living with diabetes and frontline experts in diabetes care to ‘co-design’ services with the aim of making a real difference to future diabetes care and improvements in long term health for people living with the condition.
The Minister said: “When I launched my vision for Health and Social Care I made it clear that we must find innovative new solutions to provide health services as demand continues to grow. We have to transform the way diabetes care is provided and the new Diabetes Framework and accompanying Network is a vital part of this process.
The Minister added: “With more than 3,000 new cases of diabetes being added annually in the north and many of these Type 2 Diabetes, which in many cases can be prevented, there also has to be an even greater focus on Public Health initiatives. I am particularly committed to the concept of people living with diabetes and frontline health professionals designing services together to improve patient experience and long term health outcomes.”
“The new Framework and the Network will continue to emphasise the importance of encouraging a proactive approach to preventing diabetes and its complications.”
The implementation of the Diabetes Framework has been supported by £2.1 million of targeted investments which are already being used to implement key priorities of the Framework, including investment in new technology, services for pregnant women and children with diabetes and enhancing access to structured diabetes education. The funding has also been used to support the establishment of the Diabetes Network.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, who led the development of the Diabetes Framework also welcomed the launch of the Framework and Network. He said: “I am delighted at the launch of the Diabetes Strategic Framework in conjunction with the Diabetes Network and I welcome the emphasis it puts on both the provision of high quality services as well as renewed efforts on preventing cases of diabetes. I firmly believe the new Framework and Networkwill be a vital element of turning the vision of ‘Delivering Together’ into reality.”
In developing the Diabetes Strategic Framework, the Department has worked closely with a range of key partners including Diabetes UK. The Diabetes UK Director for the North of Ireland, David Chaney, welcomed the launch of the Framework. He said: “The Diabetes Strategic Framework has the potential to drive positive change in the future of diabetes care in the north of Ireland. With 100,000 people living with the condition here, including an estimated 12,000 people living with Type 2 diabetes who have not yet been diagnosed, we cannot afford to ignore the magnitude of the diabetes impact.
“This impact is not only felt by the individual living with the condition but the Health Service at large which spends over £1million a day trying to manage diabetes in the north of Ireland. The Diabetes Strategic Framework reinforces the importance of collaboration and being patient-centred so that the best outcomes can be achieved for all."
Notes to editors:
1. The Strategic Framework was developed by a Diabetes Task Group chaired by the Chief Medical Officer and comprising a range of stakeholders including Diabetes UK and Health and Social Care professionals. It is structured around a number of themes including a collaborative approach to service design and innovative approaches to service delivery.
2. Over 88,000 people in the north of Ireland are living with diabetes and this rises annually by more than 3,000. Type 1 diabetes is where the body has a total lack of insulin (this is not preventable). In Type 2 diabetes, the body produces too little insulin or cannot use it effectively. This is linked to obesity, ageing and family history. Ninety percent of cases are Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable.
3. The Health and Social Care System currently spends around 10% of its budget, or approximately £1 million pounds a day, on diabetes care in the north of Ireland.
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