Diabetes — [Mr Laurence Robertson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Conservative, South Holland and The Deepings 9:30 am, 9th January 2019

With the insight and acumen that characterised my right hon. Friend’s ministerial career, he has identified a point that I was going to make later. With his permission, I will amplify that in my speech. I was aware of his personal circumstances and of his expertise as a result of having a daughter with diabetes. He will recognise that the average sufferer spends about three hours a year with a healthcare professional. Self-management is therefore critical and, in turn, technology is essential to such self-management. We cannot expect a healthcare professional to be on call every time someone needs support or the kind of treatment that is routine for someone such as my right hon. Friend’s young daughter. I entirely endorse his remarks. The Minister will have heard them and will respond accordingly.

In essence, I want a world in which all people with diabetes have access to the right information, advice and training, not just at the point of diagnosis but throughout their lives. People will say, “Well, of course, we all want the very best, and we all want the ideal,” but if we do not aim for the very best, we will get something very much less than that, so I make no apologies for being definitive in my determination to aim for that ideal. It is critical that we as parliamentarians should look to more distant horizons than sometimes the prevailing powers in Government—as I know from my long experience of that—would encourage us to do. Such debates as this allow us to do that in a cross-party way, for this is not about party political knockabout but about something much more fundamental.

Only if we can achieve the ideal will people be well placed to gain confidence and to cope as the Prime Minister does—as I have described—and as the deputy leader of the Labour party does. They can manage their condition and do not have their lives inhibited by it, and so believe that their opportunities are unaffected by the condition.

To ensure the early uptake of education, it must be provided in a useful format: digitally and through every kind of agency, whether that is schools working with health professionals, or local authorities, which have a responsibility for public health following the Health and Social Care Act 2012, stepping up to the mark too. I shall say a little more about the co-ordination of that, although the Minister is already aware of my concerns. It is about ensuring that our public health effort on diabetes is co-ordinated, consistent and collaborative. That is vital, for reasons already mentioned by colleagues in interventions.

I welcome the commitment in the NHS long-term plan, as I said, to expand the support on offer for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including through the provision of structured education.