Diabetes alarm as numbers rise

By Ian Dipple Friday 21 February 2014 Updated: 21/02 15:04

THE NUMBER of people with diabetes in Redditch and Bromsgrove has increased by almost a fifth in just two years.

Diabetes UK has warned the country is in the middle of an ‘unfolding public heath disaster’ and called for urgent action to both prevent and manage the condition.

In Redditch and Bromsgrove 7,154 people were diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in 2011. By 2013 the figure has risen by over 17 per cent to 8,400. It is also estimated 1,544 people are living with the condition but are unaware.

Most of the rise is accounted for by Type 2 cases which is mainly linked to rising obesity levels with recent figures showing about two thirds of adults in Redditch alone are carrying excess weight.

Diabetes UK say the NHS currently spends 10 per cent of its budget on dealing with diabetes but 80 per cent of that is focused on treating complications related to the condition. The charity wants to see a switch in focus to help people with diabetes manage their condition more effectively to prevent complications, make healthier food cheaper, make it easier for people to exercise and the full implementation of the NHS health check to identify those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes earlier.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Unless we do this, we are likely to see more people having to endure complications and an accompanying rise in diabetes spending that we will simply not be able to afford.”

Dr Jonathan Wells, chair and clinical lead for Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said they already had an enhanced diabetes service which they would continue to invest in and were looking at introducing a pre-diabetes service.

But he added more needed to be done by the Government and society to prevent and reduce obesity.

“Diabetes is one of several long-term conditions whose incidence is rapidly rising, in part due to better diagnosis and recording as well as a change in counting methodology.

“We are very aware of the huge pressure this is putting on our GP practices and we’re keen to support them as much as we are able to. It is clear in the NHS there needs to be a shift in care from hospital to community sector and resources will need to be diverted to support this.”

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