Diabetes mellitus is a complex condition that has a profound impact on the quality of life of people living with the condition and on the health services as a whole. People with diabetes also run a greater risk of developing one or more severe health complications, which can greatly impact on their independence, quality of life and economic contribution to society. From the time of diagnosis to the development of severe complications such as foot amputations, the person with diabetes receives input from a wide spectrum of health and social care professionals. As people with diabetes become older, we need to ensure their lives are not blighted by a toxic and expensive combination of conflicting priorities, poly-pharmacy and avoidable complications.

In Ireland it is estimated that there are 190,000 (5.6%) of the Irish population with diabetes (Institute of Public Health in Ireland, 2007). Approximately 30,000 (15%) of these people do not have Type 2 diabetes, but either have Type 1 diabetes, or genetic or secondary causes of diabetes. The remaining 160,000 (85%) patients have Type 2 diabetes. A significant proportion of these patients (20-30%) remain undiagnosed. It is expected that the number of people with Type 2 diabetes will increase by 60% over the next 10-15 years.

Against this backdrop of an increasing prevalence of predominantly Type 2 diabetes in the community the Diabetes Programme established a National Diabetes Working Group with the joint involvement of healthcare providers in primary, secondary and tertiary care sectors to devise methodologies for dealing with these patients.

The aim of the Diabetes Clinical Programme is:

  • Save the lives, eyes and limbs of patients with diabetes

The objectives of the Programme for Diabetes:-


  • Reduction in mortality by 10%
  • Reduction in morbidity (reduce blindness by 40%, amputations by 40% cardiovascular events by 20%).


  • Everyone with Diabetes should access a structured programme of care incorporating all aspects of diabetes care.


  • Increased efficiencies to meet increasing demand of 10% year on year.