Charity Diabetes UK has issued a warning about ‘soaring’ rates of diabetes in the UK.
According to figures released by the charity today (Monday, 17 August), the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has increased by almost 60% in the last decade.
The charity said that data held by the NHS shows that more than 3.3 million people are diagnosed with the condition, an increase of more than 1.2 million since 2005.
Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS almost £10bn a year, 80% of which is spent on complications associated with the disease, which can include kidney failure, limb amputations and blindness.
Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) state that patients with diabetes should receive a number of regular tests as part of their continued health, including regular eye examinations, and monitoring weight, blood pressure and smoking status. However, Diabetes UK states that not all patients are receiving the tests they need.
Chief executive of Diabetes UK, Barbara Young, said: “With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste – the government must act now. We need to see more people with diabetes receiving the eight care processes recommended by NICE.”
Ms Young added: “It is unacceptable that a third of people living with the condition do not currently get these, putting them at increased risk of developing complications, such as amputations, heart attack or stroke.
“There is huge potential to save money and reduce pressure on NHS hospitals and services through providing better care to prevent people with diabetes from developing devastating and costly complications.”