Diabetes UK Cymru anger over computer system

Dai Williams
Image caption Dai Williams, of Diabetes UK Cymru said it was 'scandalous' Wales does not use the SCI DC system

The Welsh government has been criticised by a diabetics' charity for not using a centralised computer system to improve treatment.

Diabetes UK Cymru called it scandalous that Wales has not taken up the SCI DC system, which has already been adopted in Scotland.

It claimed diabetics were missing out on "direct and specific" treatment.

The Welsh government said it was assessing whether SCI DC was compatible with existing systems.

A spokeswoman said: "NHS Wales is actively exploring how an all-Wales diabetic record can be created and made compatible with the Welsh systems and standards that are already in place."

The SCI DC system is used in Scotland and 98% of people with diabetes are on it.

Diabetes UK Cymru said it meant health practitioners, from hospitals to GPS to opticians, had instant access to patients' medical records.

Last week, it was revealed up to 24,000 diabetes-related deaths in England could be avoided each year if patients and doctors better managed the condition.

Charity director Dai Williams said the situation may be the same - or worse - in Wales.

"It's probably as bad but we don't know," said Mr Williams.

"The reason we don't know is the Welsh government will not get an IT system that works. We cannot tell where treatment is working and where it's not working," he said.

'Blindingly obvious'

"All the different health boards use different systems so they don't 'talk' to each other."

According to Mr Williams, the current system is archaic, and adopting Scotland's approach would give patients "direct and specific" care.

There are 160,000 diabetics in Wales, with 7,000 new cases diagnosed every year.

Mr Williams said a further 350,000 have not been diagnosed yet.

"Out of a population of 3m people that's massive," he said.

Psychologist Katie Thirlaway, from the All Wales Diabetic Forum, said it was "blindingly obvious" the SCI DC system was needed and said the Welsh government was dragging its feet on a decision.

She said: "It's been going on for a while. A decision has not been made.

"It's been stalled and on hold which is unsatisfactory because it's been stalled for a long time."

A Welsh government spokeswoman said: "In Wales, we have existing systems which are different to those in Scotland.

"Any new system will have to fit with the Welsh standards such as the Welsh Patient Index and the new Welsh Pathology System and the Welsh Patient Administration System which is used in 75% of Welsh hospitals."

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