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Over 260,000 diabetes inpatients have experienced potentially fatal medication error during hospital

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Monday, 8th October 2018

Report reveals 260,000 diabetes inpatients experienced medication error during hospital last year which could have resulted in lasting harm or death

Diabetes UK's 'Making Hospitals Safe for People with Diabetes' report, released today, has revealed concerning inadequacies in care for diabetes inpatients. 

The report calls for hospitals to adopt six key requirements which would make them safe for people with diabetes, lead to significantly improved patient experiences and shorter lengths of stay.

Diabetes UK's analysis showed that 260,000 diabetes inpatients experienced a medication error during their hospital stay last year which could have resulted in serious harm or death.

9,600 diabetes inpatients experienced a serious and potentially life threatening episode of hypoglycaemia because of poor insulin management during their hospital stay last year.

Over a million people with diabetes were admitted to hospital last year. One in six hospital beds are currently occupied by people with diabetes, with this number expected to rise to one in four by 2030.

Emily Watts, Diabetes UK's Inpatient Programme Manager and co-author of the report, said: '9,600 people experiencing a severe, potentially life threatening episode of hypoglycaemia because of inadequate care whilst in hospital, a place where people should feel supported and safe, is shocking and unacceptable.

'We hope our report will serve as a wake-up call, and lead to system-wide changes which make hospitals safe for people living with diabetes.'

Inpatients with diabetes have higher infection rates and longer lengths of stay (one to three days longer than patients without diabetes). This had implications on NHS spending and workload. Diabetes inpatient care costs the NHS £2.5 billion a year, 11% of the annual inpatient budget.

Adopting Diabetes UK's recommendations and having the right workforce in place could significantly reduce the NHS' spending.

The requirements which Diabetes UK are calling on hospitals to adopt came out of these conversations and are fully elaborated on in the report. Including 'Better access to systems and technology' and 'More support to help hospitals learn from mistakes', the full report can be read here.