Diabetes National Clinical Programme

Diabetes Mellitus is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood glucose level to become too high. 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. There are different types of diabetes - to read more about them visit: Diabetes. From initial presentation, to diagnosis to various interventions people with Diabetes may work collaboratively with numerous health and social care professionals across a spectrum of services in General practice, Community ambulatory care, outpatients and if necessary acute inpatient care.

Diabetes has been described by The Lancet as “a defining disease of the 21st century” in a 2023 editorial, which reported that more than 1.31 billion people could be living with diabetes by 2050.

In the absence of a National Diabetes Registry, it is impossible to accurately determine diabetes prevalence in Ireland. However, Scotland’s population (5.5 million) is similar to Ireland’s (5.1 million), and they have a national diabetes registry. In 2021 they reported that 6% of their population had diabetes (The Scottish Diabetes Survey, 2021). In 2022 there were 5,149,139 people living in Ireland (Irish Central Statistics Office data). If 6% of our population were living with diabetes, this would equate to 308,000 people, with 272,904 of those having T2DM or another form of Diabetes such as MODY accounting for over 90% of all diabetes diagnoses. It is estimated that approx. 20,000 to 30,000 (10%) of the population have Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.

The National Clinical Programme for Diabetes was established in 2010 to provide clinical leadership to improve the access and quality of Diabetes care nationally, to enhance the clinical outcomes for all people living with Diabetes while utilising health care resources effectively. Clinical leadership is pivotal to transforming change within our health service which meets the patients’ clinical needs and expectations. The programme was established in partnership between HSE and the professional training body, Royal College of Physicians. The Clinical Programmes have used Models of Care as a framework to co-design, develop and implement changes within the health service to improve the quality of services.

The NCP Diabetes established a multi-stakeholder national working group to work on and progress the programmes aims. This group includes representation from people living with Diabetes, Health care professionals across all levels of services and higher education institutes.