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Calls to introduce routine screening for diabetes in children and young people, after family petition

An assembly committee says early identification is key to tackling type 1 diabetes in children and young people.

An inquiry was launched by the Petitions Committee after receiving a petition from the family of Peter Baldwin calling on the Welsh Government to introduce routine screening for diabetes in children and young people.

Beth Baldwin's son Peter died in 2015. Credit: Family photo

13-year-old Peter died in 2015. He was initially diagnosed with a chest infection by his GP, but became ill the following day and was rushed to hospital. The paramedic who attended carried out a finger prick test and diagnosed type 1 on the spot. Unfortunately Peter was already too ill and died soon after.

Peter's family have campaigned for changes ever since.

Credit: PA Images

The committee was told that type 1 diabetes was a rare condition, and that some GPs may only see one new case during their career.

There are approximately 1,400 children with diabetes in Wales, with 96 per cent of them having type 1 diabetes.

1,400
children with diabetes in Wales

The committee is recommending that questions about the four 'T' symptoms should be routinely asked when unwell children and young people see a GP or other health professional - Toilet, Thirsty, Tired and Thinner.

Credit: PA Images

It goes without saying that the loss of a child is, thankfully, largely unimaginable for most people and the tremendous courage of Peter's family in seeking to use such awful circumstances to prevent the same situation happening to others should command enormous respect.

Prompt diagnosis is critical as the onset of the illness can be extremely rapid and very dangerous.

We fully support the petition and are calling on the Welsh Government to do more to raise awareness of the dangers of type 1 diabetes and how to spot it throughout the NHS.

– David Rowlands AM, Chair of the Petitions Committee

A number of the committee's recommendations are already being actioned as part of our Diabetes Delivery Plan.

The plan is clear that all Type 1 diabetes requires prompt diagnosis and treatment and recognises this is imperative for children.

We will consider the report's findings.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

The report and its recommendations will now be considered by the Welsh Government with a debate to be held during Plenary in the autumn.