Controlling Diabetes


Only one in 5 people with diabetes in England and Wales are reaching the targets for keeping their condition under control, according to a new analysis by Diabetes UK.


Diabetes UK state this is one of the main reasons for the high rates of diabetes-related complications such as kidney failure and stroke, and goes a long way towards explaining why 24,000 people with diabetes die early every year in England and Wales.

The charity is calling for the Government to make improving diabetes healthcare an urgent priority. There are now 3 million people diagnosed with diabetes, and this number is rising quickly which could leave the UK facing a public health disaster. This is because not only do diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, amputation, and stroke have a devastating personal effect, they are also very expensive to treat. The NHS spends about £10 billion a year on diabetes – 10 per cent of its entire budget – and about 80 per cent of this goes on treating complications that could often have been prevented.

Diabetes UK has listed a number of improvements that they want to see:

  • A big increase in the number of people with diabetes who get the 9 annual checks recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and are then given support to meet their treatment targets. At the moment just 54% of people with diabetes in England are receiving the checks
  • The Government to hold poorly performing areas to account: there are some areas where fewer than 20% of people with the condition are getting the checks
  • Delivery of structured education and care planning, so that people with diabetes are empowered to manage their own condition

With education and support to help people manage their diabetes many complications are avoidable and the risk of early death is reduced.

However, it remains the case that even with education people are still heavily reliant upon expert medical advice and in some cases GP’s have ignored warning signs of diabetes for a period of years, with no investigations completed and no treatment provided until a life-threatening diabetic condition requires urgent hospital admission. There have also been cases where a GP has failed to appreciate the impact that diabetes can have upon what appears to be an insignificant foot injury, and have failed to refer appropriately resulting in unnecessary amputation.

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