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Charity calls for better integration of mental health and diabetes care

Half of patients are missing out on vital checks

A charity is urging the NHS to better integrate mental health and diabetes care.

Diabetes UK said half of the 73,000 people diagnosed with severe mental illness and type 2 diabetes in England and Wales are not receiving vital checks that could help prevent complications.

The NHS advises that all people with diabetes should receive the eight NICE recommended checks – including blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and foot checks.

When not well managed, type 2 diabetes is associated with serious complications that include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputation, which over time can lead to disability and premature mortality.

There is huge variation between the best and worst performing areas across England, with 78% of Hackney residents with type 2 diabetes and severe mental illness receiving all checks compared to only 18% in Wolverhampton.

Diabetes UK said the care of people with diabetes in mental health settings should ensure diabetes care is prioritised. People with severe mental illness are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes than the general population.

Nikki Joule, policy manager at Diabetes UK, said: “We need to bridge the divide between physical and mental health services to ensure those with severe mental illness and Type 2 diabetes do not have their physical care needs overlooked. It is critical that all care sees the whole person, and provides integrated support.”