HC Deb 03 June 1986 vol 98 cc543-4W
Mr. Kennedy

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, what steps are being taken in the National Health Service to seek to ensure that diabetic children carry out their blood tests correctly.

Mr. Whitney

Careful monitoring of the blood sugar levels of a diabetic child is part of the clinical management of the condition by the doctor responsible, who would normally be a hospital consultant. Education and training of the patient, and family if appropriate, are essential parts of this managment. In some areas specialist nurses are available to assist with this.

Mr. Frank Field

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether plastic disposable syringes are available on National Health Service prescriptions to diabetics who require insulin injections.

Mr. Hayhoe

Disposable syringes are not included in the list of appliances which general practitioners may prescribe on the National Health Service. The prescribable list includes a range of reusable hypodermic equipment. If it is medically necessary for a diabetic, or any other patient, to use disposable syringes they may be supplied on the National Health Service through the hospital service.

Mr. Kennedy

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many new cases of diabetes have been diagnosed in each of the last five years; what is the patient age distribution of diagnosis; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Whitney

There are no centrally collected statistics on the incidence or age distribution of diabetes. It has been estimated that in the United Kingdom over a million people suffer from the condition and that some benefits, (iii) supplementary benefit only and (iv) no benefit. Similar information is not available for housing benefit.

30,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, of whom 1,500 are children. Diabetes cart occur at any age but the incidence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes is more common after middle age. The peak years for the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes occur in childhood.