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. 

Find out more about DCAP by visiting www.dcap.org.uk

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