Inpatient diabetes care

People with diabetes are at risk of safety issues during in-patient care.

According to Diabetes UK, people with diabetes account for 15 per cent of inpatients in England and over one third experience at least one medication error while in hospital and those who are admitted for routine surgery stay in hospital on average 2.6 days longer than people who do not have diabetes1.

In England a national audit of in-patient care is taken every year. It provides a snapshot on a single day of the care of patients in hospital who are recorded as having diabetes and gives some clear indications of where patients may be at risk. As well as recording factual information about people it also asks their opinion about their care and considers issues such as the provision of food in hospital during their stay.

Key safety issues

The key safety issues in hospital for people with diabetes include:

  • medication errors
  • medication errors that lead to hypoglycaemia
  • diabetic Ketoacidosis
  • inappropriately long use of insulin infusion and delay in transition to subcutaneous infusion
  • lack of access to specialist podiatry and dietetic services (eg. diabetic foot problems - inpatient management of diabetic foot problems)
  • dietary provision that was poor or inadequate


  1. Diabetes UK. Diabetes in the UK 2011-12: Key statistics on diabetes (accessed 28 September 2012)

All resources on inpatient diabetes care