BACKGROUND: The need to understand barriers to the implementation of health care innovations in daily practice has been widely documented, but perceived facilitators and barriers in diabetes care by Dutch health care professionals remain unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate these factors among health care professionals (HCPs) using a qualitative research design. METHODS: Data were collected from 18 semi-structured interviews with HCPs from all professions relevant to diabetes care. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim and the data were analyzed using NVivo 8.0. RESULTS: Major facilitators were the more prominent role of the practice nurses and diabetes nurses in diabetes care, benchmarking, the Care Standard (CS) of the Netherlands Diabetes federation and multidisciplinary collaboration, although collaboration with certain professional groups (i.e. dieticians, physical therapists and pharmacists), as well as the collaboration between primary and secondary care, could still be improved. The bundled payment system for the funding of diabetes care and the role of the health insurers were perceived as major barriers within the health care system. Other important barriers were reported to be the lack of motivation among patients and the lack of awareness of lifestyle programs and prevention initiatives for diabetes patients among professionals. CONCLUSIONS: Organizational changes in diabetes care, as a result of the increased attention given to management continuity of care, have led to an increased need for multidisciplinary collaboration within and between health care sectors (e.g. public health, primary care and secondary care). To date, daily routines for shared care are still sub-optimal and improvements in facilities, such as registration systems, should be implemented to further optimize communication and exchange of information.