Diabetes could bring down the NHS, charity says

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More and more Britons are being diagnosed with Diabetes and according to latest analysis by Diabetes UK, there has been a nearly 60 per cent increase in the number of diabetics in the country over the last decade.

The charity analysed data from the Quality and Outcomes Framework, 2004-05 to 2013-14, and it found that over 3.3 million people [3,333,069 people to be precise] have now been diagnosed with diabetes by end of last year as compared to 2 million [2,086,041 people to be precise] by end of 2005.

The charity notes that their analysis hasn’t taken into consideration the 590,000 adults estimated to have undiagnosed diabetes in 2013-2014.

This marked increase in the number of cases in diabetes in the UK points to an urgent need for effective care for people living with diabetes, as well as highlights the importance of prevention and that failure to act on this threatens to bring down the NHS.

According to Diabetes UK, just 60 per cent of people with diabetes in England and Wales receive the eight care processes recommended by the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE). These are the checks identified as essential in high quality care for people with diabetes and include getting blood pressure and blood glucose levels measured, as well as the kidney function monitored, otherwise poorly managed diabetes can lead to devastating and expensive health complications such as kidney disease, stroke and amputation.

The charity suggests that this gap is the reason why the government needs to take urgent action to ensure that everyone with diabetes receives the eight care processes, reducing their risk of further health complications and the costs these incur for the already strained NHS budget.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said that the disease is already costing the NHS nearly £10 billion a year, and 80 per cent of this is spent on managing avoidable complications. This means that there is a huge scope of cost savings that will in turn reduce pressure on NHS hospitals and services through providing better care to prevent people with diabetes from developing devastating and costly complications.

“The NHS must prioritise providing better care, along with improved and more flexible education options, for people with diabetes now, and give them the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives. Until then, avoidable human suffering will continue and the costs of treating diabetes will continue to spiral out of control and threaten to bankrupt the NHS. Now is the time for action.”