During the first decade of the 21st Century, Scotland embarked on an ambitious programme to work towards a world-class diabetes service. People with diabetes, healthcare professionals, NHS managers, research groups, the voluntary sector, Government, industry and others have come together for this purpose, in a way that has encouraged the Action Plan to describe them, with accuracy, as 'the diabetes community'.
The consultation process, Better Diabetes Care, that the Minister for Public Health and Sport launched during 2009, highlighted recent improvements in care, but also drew attention to the challenges that continue to face us. The questions posed in the consultation stressed the need to address the continuing rise in the number of people in Scotland with diabetes, and the urgency of reducing the adverse impact the condition has on people's lives and wellbeing, both physical and psychological.
The responses to the consultation have re-affirmed the commitment across Scotland to continue to drive up standards of care through innovation, genuine involvement of people with diabetes, research, sharing of outcome information and the promulgation of best practice. The feedback also highlighted the importance of building on previous work, considering the applicability to Scotland of best care in other countries and continuing to design our services around the needs of people living with diabetes, and in partnership with them.
I am very grateful to all those who responded to the consultation, and would like to thank in particular people with diabetes who contributed either as individuals or through focus groups organised by the voluntary sector. Diabetes UK Scotland ensured a strong patient focus in the development of this Action Plan, which makes it a good example of the Government's commitment to working with the voluntary sector. The Action Plan has also benefited from input from healthcare professionals and a range of national and international organisations. The publication earlier this year of SIGN Guideline 116 on the management of diabetes provides an added stimulus to the diabetes community to deliver quality care based on current international evidence.
The Action Plan reflects the principles of our Quality Strategy. It provides the diabetes community with the tools to realise our aim of world-class, person-centred, effective, efficient, equitable, safe and timely services for people with diabetes in Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon, MSP
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing