Diabetes UK said it is “deeply worrying” that people under 40 are missing important checks to keep their condition under control.
The comments come as the National Diabetes Audit for 2014/15 showed that among people under 40, a quarter of those with Type 1 diabetes and two fifths with Type 2 diabetes are receiving exemplary care.
The audit, which compiles data from 1.9 million people in England and Wales with the condition, found that just 27.3% of with Type 1 diabetes and 40.8% of with Type 2 diabetes received all eight tests and check ups that are recommended by health officials.
The annual tests, which include checks on kidneys, feet, blood glucose levels, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight, are “vital” to prevent people with the condition from suffering devastating complications such as amputation, kidney failure and heart disease, the charity said.
“It is deeply worrying that such a low percentage of younger people with diabetes are receiving all eight of the vital care processes,” said Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK.
“With this reflecting patterns of previous years, urgent action must be taken to ensure younger people too are given the best chances of good health and don’t continue to be left behind.
“We know that young people may struggle to fit in getting the checks with work and a busy life.
“But it is vital that commissioners look at ways to enable more young people to have better access to the healthcare services that will help them to manage their diabetes on a day-to-day basis.
“As the number of people with diabetes continues to soar, mainly fuelled by the massive increase in recent years of people developing Type 2 diabetes, there really is no time to waste; urgent action must be taken so that young people, our future generation, have the best possible chances of living long, healthy lives.”
The data, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, also highlights wide regional variation in the levels of care received by patients.
In some parts of England and Wales just 24.8% of people were receiving all eight checks compared with 80.6% of patients in other parts of the country.
Dr Bob Young, clinical lead for the audit, said: “We would encourage patients to attend invitations for annual care process checks and work with care providers to achieve recommended treatment targets.
“Equally, we would ask GPs and specialist services to sustain focus on improving blood pressure and blood glucose control.
“There continues to be wide regional variation in the care and treatment of diabetes patients.
“We recommend that clinical commissioning groups and local health boards support care providers to participate in the audit and provide forums for sharing best practice to improve underachievement.”
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