Our Diabetes Improvement Plan published in 2014 set out eight priority areas to improve outcomes for people living with diabetes.
Since 2014, we have made significant progress against each of these priorities, including increasing access to technologies for adults and children, the roll out of two prevention campaigns including 'think, check, act' in inpatient settings and £42 million investment in the Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Framework.
Scotland has become an international leader in epidemiological research, thanks to the data from the online portal, SCI-diabetes. Our diabetes dashboard enables access to real time data at a national, regional, local and individual level to help drive improvements to care and outcomes.
However, we know that diabetes remains a significant health challenge and a leading cause of ill health in Scotland. We know that Scotland has an ageing population and people are living longer, with more complex conditions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the diabetes community. In March 2020, we asked people to Stay at Home, and paused many routine services to allow NHS staff to tackle the immediate threat of the virus. Many services moved to digital platforms to adhere to social distancing. We also now understand that those living with diabetes are at an increased risk of contracting severe illness from the virus. This has re-emphasised the importance of our focus on improving diabetes care for people in Scotland.
It is important that we learn from the experiences of the pandemic and the swift rollout of alternative models of care that took place as a result, in particular the shift towards digital services which may have benefited many people with diabetes. We know, for example, from the roll out of Freestyle Libre how much of a positive impact these treatments can have on the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes. Simultaneously, we must ensure that we are appropriately considering and addressing the potential impact on health inequalities that such models of care may have.
It is therefore timely for us to publish this refreshed Diabetes Improvement Plan. It sets out our desire to see a whole system approach to Diabetes across health and social care and outlines our priorities and actions that will build on the progress that has been made to date. Through the delivery of this plan, we are committed to designing and developing services that meet the needs of everyone, with a focus on those that are experiencing health inequalities.
To deliver the most effective, person-centred care we will continue to work collaboratively with key stakeholders in the implementation of our priorities. We have committed to reducing variation in access to mental health support for people with diabetes. Wider work happening across the system will also ensure that people with long term conditions that have been impacted by the pandemic have access to support and resources for their mental health.
We thank all of those involved in diabetes care, treatment and support for their remarkable efforts. As we continue forward, we will progress the actions laid out in this ambitious Diabetes Plan refresh in order to continuously improve diabetes care in Scotland.
Mairi Gougeon, MSP
Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing
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