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Diabetes will bankrupt the NHS unless urgent action is taken, warns charity

17 August 2015

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The number of people living with diabetes in the UK has soared by 59.8% in a decade, and the disease “threatens to bring down the NHS,” a leading charity warned. 

The new figures, extracted from official NHS data, show that there are now 3,333,069 people diagnosed with diabetes, which is an increase of more than 1.2 million adults compared to 2005, there were 2,086,041 people diagnosed with the condition.

The charity, Diabetes UK said that prioritising better care and improved, more flexible education options for people with diabetes now, is “critical”.

“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,” said Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

Currently, only six-in-10 people with diabetes in England and Wales receive the eight care processes recommended by the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE), including blood pressure and kidney function checks.

“Diabetes already costs the NHS nearly £10 billion a year, and 80% of this is spent on managing avoidable complications,” Young added.

Poorly managed diabetes can lead to devastating and expensive health complications such as kidney disease, stroke and amputation, the charity added.

“With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste – the government must act now,” Young said.