‘Shocking’ rise in emergency admissions for child diabetes

Monday 8th February, 2010

Figures released today have revealed over 3,300 children are admitted to A&E each year due to complications arising from diabetes.

Between April 2008 and April 2009, 3,345 under-18s in England were admitted for diabetic ketoacidosis which occurs when blood sugar levels are too high.

The reaction causes symptoms such as stomach pain, vomiting and rapid breathing. Without emergency treatment, it can lead to coma and death.

The figures, released by Diabetes UK, showed that children account for nearly a quarter of all the 13,465 emergency admissions for diabetic ketoacidosis. The overall figure has risen by 9 per cent since 2006.

Of the children admitted in the last year, all had Type 1 diabetes which develops during childhood. The UK has the fourth highest incidence of the condition among under-15s in Europe

Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “It’s shocking to see such high numbers of children being rushed to A&E with this life-threatening complication.

“We know from our previous research that specialist diabetes staff report an increase in emergency hospital admissions whenever there are cuts in services.

“Children and their parents desperately need better access to paediatric specialist diabetes teams.

“The number of emergency admissions could be reduced significantly with investment in appropriate care, diabetes advice and practical self-management support.”



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