SWEET Mission

To reduce Inequalities in Access to and Quality of Paediatric Diabetes Care

Inequalities in levels of and access to specialized multidisciplinary diabetes care and education continue to exist across the EU.This variability is a consequence of many factors, the most significant being the social and cultural differences among countries, differences in clinical governance, and lack of structured networks of interested parties with commonly agreed goals.

In addition, the need for registries of patients, networks of specialist researchers, access to bio-banks and human biological material (especially in relation to the rarer complications) and the need for more standardised treatment guidelines have repeatedly been mentioned as roadblocks in the European diabetes research landscape.

Since shortcomings and inequalities are mainly due to the underlying differences in systems, the most straightforward solution is the creation of a network of paediatric diabetes centres across Europe, connected through commonobjectives and standards. That is exactly what SWEEThas been doing since 2008.

A connection and collaboration between diabetes centres across Europe additionally allows a joint collection, handling and evaluation of standardised data sets (cross-border research) thus improving the situation for children with diabetes independent of where they live in Europe.

SWEET Advocacy

Best practice models for diabetes care at schools across Europe

Since children spend an average of 7 hours a day at school, it is essential to provide a supportive environment and to handle effectively any diabetes-related challenges that might arise during the school day and at school activities.

Unfortunately, most European countries do not have appropriate measures or regulation in place enabling schools to support children with diabetes in the effective management of their condition. The alarming facts of a key study indicate that:

  • 9 out of 10 cannot rely on a school nurse to assist them with their diabetes during school;
  • 6 out of 10 children with diabetes do not manage their diabetes successfully in school;
  • Children with diabetes tend to drop out of school earlier than others – some cases have been recorded where children were even asked to leave school because of their diabetes.

SWEET has raised this issue in the European Parliament and the European Commission with the clear message that there is a strong and urgent need for appropriate regulation, allowing school personnel to help children with diabetes manage their condition. Good practices, such as the Swedish ‘self-care’ model, have been put forward to serve as an example to be promoted and implemented across Europe.