The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) has published a report assessing the state of development and implementation of policy, strategies and information systems to meet the needs of people living with Type 2 diabetes, or those at risk of developing the condition. Around 88,000 people in Northern Ireland are living with diabetes (90% Type 2 diabetes); an increase of 71% between 2004/05 and 2015/16. Treatment costs are estimated at around £400m annually – 10% of the health and social care budget .
NIAO concluded that
- there has been limited success from local initiatives in reversing the increased prevalence for obesity and Type 2 diabetes and new approaches are needed in terms of effective prevention with a focus on nutrition and obesity
- Limited data and management information has made it difficult to draw clear conclusions on whether the standard of care and patient outcomes have improved
- The development of high quality services has been slow and any improvements have been insufficient to cope with increased prevalence of Type 2 diabetes
- Self-management offers improved clinical and ‘quality of life’ outcomes,; this is an area which could be significantly improved
- As prevalence increase, pressure on health and social care professionals will also increase and so it is very likely the current model of care will become unsustainable
IPH work relevant to diabetes in Northern Ireland:
In 2016, IPH responded to the consultation on the Diabetes Strategic Framework. Access the response here.
IPH is currently involved in a number of EU projects and strategic level work linked to obesity prevention and physical activity. As part of the EU Joint Action on Nutrition and Physical Activity, IPH was a research partner on a study on the lifetime cost of childhood obesity in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
IPH is also a member of the Northern Ireland Regional Obesity Prevention Implementation Group, which is responsible for the implementation of A Fitter Future for all - Framework for Preventing and Addressing Overweight and Obesity (2012-2022).
IPH has supported policy and legislative developments for the introduction of a sugar sweetened drinks tax through a Health Impact Assessment and presentation at the 2016 IPH Open Conference. IPH also responded to the consultations in the UK and Republic of Ireland on the introduction of a soft drinks levy.
 ‘Blueprint for Diabetes Care in Northern Ireland in the 21st Century’ CREST and Diabetes UK (Northern Ireland) March 2003