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29 Nov 2012
Emergency care referral pathway survey for Hypoglycaemia (Acute/Community Trusts & PCT/CCGs)
The NHS and wider community have made great progress in caring for people with diabetes but historically we have lacked national information from the ambulance services. Currently rates of hypoglycaemia across the UK are unknown, but we estimate that UK ambulance services may be attending as many as 100,000 patients with diabetes each year through its emergency systems.
Many of these call-outs may be preventable if appropriate referral pathways were in place. NICE Quality standard No.14 states that people with diabetes who have experienced hypoglycaemia requiring medical attention should be referred to a specialist diabetes team. Although we know some areas have pathways in line with this standard, nationally, we do not know how many or to what extent to these processes are being followed.
NHS Diabetes, in collaboration with ambulance trusts, National Diabetes Information Service (NDIS) and Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory (YHPHO) are currently managing projects to review the scale of emergency care for hypoglycaemia provided by ambulance services and to gain a national picture of what happens to people with diabetes after they have received emergency treatment for a hypoglycaemic episode.
As part of this programme of work, NHS Diabetes is collecting information on local care pathways for the management and subsequent follow up of a person with diabetes experiencing a severe hypoglycaemic episode requiring a 999 ambulance call-out. This information will allow us to assist areas where clear pathways do not exist and disseminate good practice.