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Leading charity calls for diabetes to be priority

Political leaders need to do more for UK’s 3.8m diabetics

Adrian O'Dowd

Friday, 01 May 2015

The main political parties have failed to prioritise diabetes care in the UK, despite the fact that it currently costs the NHS around £10bn every year, according to Diabetes UK.

The leading charity has today called on the main parties to prioritise improving diabetes care for the 3.8 million people who have the condition in the UK.

Currently, one in six hospital beds are occupied by someone with diabetes and the condition costs the NHS £10 billion every year, said the charity.

With less than a week to go until the general election, Diabetes UK said it wanted political leaders to put diabetes on the national agenda so that it was a priority for the next government.

At present, four in 10 diabetes patients were still not receiving all the essential health checks and services that they needed to manage their condition effectively, which cost lives and the NHS money.

Failure to manage diabetes well raised the risk of life threatening diabetes complications such as blindness, amputations and stroke, argued the charity, which said that these complications were devastating for those involved and costly to the health service – diabetes accounted for 10% of the entire NHS budget.

The NHS spent about £8 billion on treating complications of diabetes, many of which could be prevented with the correct treatment.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said: “None of the political parties have made enough of a commitment to improving the often poor quality of diabetes healthcare, which is really disappointing given that one in 17 people in the UK now have it.

“One in every six hospital beds is occupied by someone with diabetes, most of who will be voters, and the fact that the NHS spends 10% of its entire budget on diabetes means it is an issue that affects everyone.

“One of the big challenges for the new government will be sorting out the NHS’s finances, but improving diabetes healthcare will not only potentially save billions of pounds but will also mean that far fewer people have to endure devastating complications.

“We need urgent action on this and this should be a top priority for whoever forms the next government.”

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