Diabetes UK campaigners in Wales will be contacting their local NHS Trusts in the next few weeks to ask how many children each diabetes nurse cares for, and what steps are being taken to ensure sufficient numbers of specialist nursing staff.
No child with diabetes in Wales should be cared for by a diabetes nurse who is looking after more than 70 children. That is the message of Diabetes UKâ€™s new campaign focussing on the welfare of children with diabetes 70:1.
Diabetes UK is backing the recommendation of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), that every child with diabetes should be seen by a paediatric diabetes specialist nurse (PDSN) who has no more than the recommended caseload of 70 children to one nurse.
This ratio may need to be even lower in areas with a large geographical spread, cultural variations and language barriers, social deprivation, and caseloads involving less common forms of diabetes, and where nurses have additional responsibilities such as the management and service development.
Andrew Misell, Policy Officer with Diabetes UK Cymru, said, â€œAround 1,700 people under 18 in Wales currently have diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to serious complications later in life, and all young people with diabetes need the best possible care and support to avoid these problems.
"Diabetes UK believes that all children with diabetes should be cared for by staff who specialise in diabetes in children, and who have sufficient time and resources to work effectively with all the children in their care.â€
Tina Donnelly, Director RCN Wales, said: â€œThe overall goal of managing diabetes in children and young people is to enable the child or young person to lead a life as free as possible from the clinical and psychosocial complications of the disease. Most importantly, nurses want to ensure that children and young people must be involved in making decisions about their management and supported to manage their diabetes as part of their daily lives.
"A combination of specialist paediatric and diabetes care is required for children and young people with diabetes to be well-adjusted and lead long and healthy lives in families which have come to terms with the condition.â€
Diabetes UK campaigners in Wales will be contacting their local NHS Trusts in the next few weeks to ask how many children each PDSN cares for, and what steps are being taken to ensure sufficient numbers of specialist nursing staff.