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Press release: Accreditation programme set to improve diabetes inpatient care in UK first

A first-of-its-kind accreditation programme to improve the quality of diabetes inpatient care across the UK is set to launch on 31 May 2023.

The Diabetes Care Accreditation Programme (DCAP), set up by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Accreditation Unit and Diabetes UK, aims to improve care by setting quality standards and measuring service performance through external peer assessment.   

The programme comes after the Diabetes UK Making hospitals safe report (2018) showed that inpatient diabetes care is not universally standardised, and that currently there is no mechanism to provide assurance that services are delivered to a high standard for all people with diabetes in hospital.   

Clinical lead at the Royal College of Physicians Accreditation Unit Dr Daniel Flanagan said: “Diabetes inpatient care varies considerably across hospitals, regions and nations, and people with diabetes often express concern about how their condition is managed in hospital.  

“The Diabetes Care Accreditation Programme is designed to allow hospitals to look, in detail, at how they provide diabetes care and how they compare against others. This is essential work that must be done. If a hospital is accredited, they will be able to say to people with diabetes: ‘If you are admitted to our hospital, you will be given a high standard of care that we are proud of’.  

“We hope, in time, that every hospital in the UK will be able to say that.” 

The Royal College of Physicians’ Accreditation Unit was chosen as the partner to deliver this work due to its expertise and experience in delivering many other accreditation programmes, including pulmonary rehabilitation, allergy, primary immunodeficiency, endoscopy and liver services.  

Diabetes UK brings together partners, knowledge, and expertise from within health systems in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as proven track record of championing better care for people living with diabetes. 

Esther Walden, Senior Clinical Advisor and DCAP lead at Diabetes UK, said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of the Diabetes Care Accreditation Programme and hope it will lead to improved inpatient care for people with diabetes. The pilot programme showed that DCAP helped teams review their services and identify gaps in care provision, further develop collaborative working and increase their ability to evidence the care being provided. We encourage inpatient services to sign up to this programme, to help ensure people with diabetes receive the best possible care in hospital.” 

Accreditation has played a pivotal role in driving change in many aspects of healthcare, including mental health and diagnostics. It can act as a form of assurance to service users, managers, referrers, and commissioners about the service provided.  

The new DCAP standards were developed by the Joint British Diabetes Societies Inpatient Group (JBDS-IP) supported by Diabetes UK, the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists, the Diabetes Inpatient Specialist Nurse UK group, and people living with diabetes as part of a pilot programme. They combine recommendations from national guidance including the Making hospitals safe report, National Diabetes Inpatient Audit, Getting it Right First Time and JBDS guidelines to cover all aspects of high-quality diabetes inpatient care.  

The ambition is for DCAP to make a transformational impact on improving inpatient care and creating the change people living with diabetes need and deserve. 

Start your accreditation journey today and find out more about DCAP by visiting www.dcap.org.uk

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact: 

RCP’s Media Manager Nicholas Wesson by emailing: Nicholas.wesson@rcp.ac.uk or calling 07515 715346. For out-of-hours urgent enquiries, please call 07896 416409. 

Diabetes UK’s media relations team on 020 3757 7877 or email pressteam@diabetes.org.uk.  

About the Royal College of Physicians Accreditation Unit 

The Royal College of Physicians Accreditation Unit manages a range of accreditation programmes, with the aim of improving the quality, safety and experience of patients and improving service delivery. 

We do this by developing standards with a multi-professional group of clinicians, managers and patients and working to an accreditation pathway which involves self-assessment and improvement against the standards. Accredited services submit evidence annually to demonstrate that they are continuing to meet the standards and have a 5-yearly on-site assessment carried out by our experienced assessment team. 

Participating in accreditation helps teams to:  

• improve service delivery and quality of care for people with diabetes  

• reduce variation in clinical services  

• highlight and share good practice as well as where to focus improvement efforts  

• increase satisfaction with working conditions, leadership, and collaboration  

• embed quality improvement in everyday practice.  

About Diabetes UK 

Notes to editors: 

1.   Diabetes UK’s aim is creating a world where diabetes can do no harm. Diabetes is the most devastating and fastest growing health crisis of our time, affecting more people than any other serious health condition in the UK - more than dementia and cancer combined. There is currently no known cure for any type of diabetes. With the right treatment, knowledge and support people living with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life. For more information about diabetes and the charity’s work, visit www.diabetes.org.uk    

2.   Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.   

3.   People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 8 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It’s the most common type of diabetes in children and young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity. 

4.   People with type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). Around 90 per cent of people with diabetes have type 2. They might get type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.  

5.   About 2 per cent of people have other types of diabetes. Other types include 11 different forms of monogenic diabetes, cystic fibrosis related diabetes and diabetes caused by rare syndromes. Certain medication such as steroids and antipsychotics, surgery or hormonal imbalances could also lead to other types of diabetes.   

For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide: Diabetes in the News: A Guide for Journalists on Reporting on Diabetes (PDF, 3MB).