Ireland has been ranked ninth in Europe for the standard of its diabetes care, according to the first Euro Consumer Diabetes Index.
Ireland’s diabetes teams are overrun with patients, and there is a need for more quality staff, both doctors and nurses, according to Dr Beatriz Cebolla Garrofé, project manager for the Diabetes Index. Furthermore, the long waiting times are not acceptable and lead to risk of complications, she said.
Denmark was ranked first in Europe, followed by the UK, France and the Netherlands. Ireland’s place marks an improvement from its performance in the 2008 Euro Health Consumer and Heart Indexes, where Ireland was placed as 16th out of 29 countries in both.
Johan Hjertqvist, President of the Brussels-based Health Consumer Powerhouse, which created the index, believes that an open and transparent diabetes registry in Ireland would ‘improve the care outcomes’.
The Diabetes Index compares care systems around Europe from a consumer point of view. Ireland scored 733 points out of a potential 1,000, in five categories.
Early intervention in diabetes has a positive impact both for patients and healthcare budgets, the authors of the index claimed, and good diabetes management need not be expensive.
However, no country in the index achieved their true potential, and all require varying degrees of reform to maximise performance, the authors said.
“There is a clear need for greater focus on diabetes prevention; this would make the single biggest difference to reducing the impact of the disease. Even simple measures, such as lifestyle issues of reducing obesity, increasing levels of exercise and smoking cessation would make a difference,” said Mr Hjertqvist.
It is a strange contradiction to see well-funded healthcare systems like France, Germany, Italy and Spain taking a half-hearted approach to smoking cessation when the benefits are clear, he added.
The index covered all 27 EU member states as well as Norway and Switzerland.
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