Over the last few months, together with a working group chosen for their valuable knowledge and insight into diabetes in BME communities, we have prepared a report seeking to identify the problems facing BME communities and the examples of best practice which exist in the NHS.
This report sets out an outline of the barriers to improving outcomes for type 2 diabetes in black and minority ethnic communities and identifies examples of best practice to support South Asian, black African and black African Caribbean people to better manage their diabetes.
The number of people diagnosed with Diabetes in this country has been rising rapidly in the UK over the past few years. Over 3.2 million people are diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, but BME communities are disproportionately affected and are 5 to 6 times more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
My constituency of Ealing Southall is one of the most ethnically diverse constituencies in the country and it is estimated that Ealing CCG covers over 23,000 people with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. I know that it is crucial to raise awareness of the higher risk of type 2 diabetes in ethnic minority communities and also, of the disastrous consequences that type 2 diabetes can have if left undiagnosed and untreated.
This report comes at a time of reform for the NHS, when local authorities have new public health responsibilities and the NHS is facing significant challenges. A time when healthcare professionals, commissioners and patients must do more to manage chronic conditions in more efficient and cost effective ways.
With a working group chosen for their valuable knowledge and insight into diabetes in BME communities, the report seeks to identify the problems facing BME communities and the examples of best practice which exist in the NHS.
The group, in this report, has recommended that investment in prevention, early diagnosis and active treatment, alongside the promotion of the value of localised and culturally relevant strategies, is integral to provide better care and improve outcomes for diabetes patients in BME groups.
The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes in BME communities is reaching a critical stage; the number of people with diabetes is increasing and many people from South Asian, black African and black African communities are not aware of their amplified risks of developing type 2 diabetes.
Every delay in diagnosis and seeking treatment can lead to more complications and increased costs for the NHS, which is why we need to help local doctors and nurses raise awareness and implement services that recognise the specific needs of different BME groups.
We can only hope that this report will highlight some of the examples of best practice services and encourage the adoption of these initiatives in other parts of the NHS, to improve outcomes for people with diabetes in black and minority ethnic communities.
I would like to express my gratitude both to the members of the working group for their thoughtful and informed contributions and to Janssen for their support.
You can read the full report here.