Failing healthcare for diabetics in UK

January 14, 2015

By Amy Wilkinson

Recent reports have revealed that the UK healthcare system is poor for those suffering from diabetes, and costing more money and lives that could be avoided.


Complications in the diabetes healthcare system in the UK are at record rates, and subsequently costing the NHS more money than necessary, experts say.

In recent studies, diabetes has shown to be the fastest growing health threat of our time. According to Diabetes UK, in 2013 there were 3.2 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, those statistics are estimated to rise to five million by 2025.

The UK currently spends an estimated £23.7 billion on diabetes, and with the estimated rise of diabetics, this figure will also see an upsurge to a possible £40 billion by 2035.

Diabetes UK have said that the NHS spend almost a tenth of their budget on diabetes alone, showing very little improvement, as most of the money goes on dealing with complications, and not actually preventing the initial problems.

The charity has said that they believe the current system of care in the UK is not working.

Barbara Young, the chief executive of Diabetes UK told the BBC: “It’s about people getting the checks they need at their GP surgery and giving people the support and education they need to be able to manage their own condition. Doing this, together with improving diabetes care in hospital, would give people with diabetes a better chance of a long and healthy life, and save the NHS a significant amount of money. We want to work with local authorities to be able to help them put good practice into place.”

Lisa Whiteley, 48, has suffered with type-two diabetes for nearly two years, and has managed to revert her blood sugar levels to ‘normal’. She has now been officially removed from the NHS diabetic register.

Lisa believes that the advice given to diabetics is “very outdated”. She said that when she conducted some research of her own, she found that the advice she received was the same as what had been given for the past 30 years.

“I think the NHS advice is clearly outdated. I think that the benefits of exercise are underrated in regards to stimulating the pancreas to increase its production of insulin, and therefore help control type-two diabetes. The NHS advice is focused on food, with little focus on exercise. I think that drugs are prescribed too readily, and that the long term effects of diabetes are not broadly advertised. I know of several type-two sufferers who seem relatively unaware of not only the seriousness of the disease, but also of the possibility that they can reverse it.”

Official audits of the NHS show that many patients don’t even receive the regular checks which are recommended for those with diabetes.

Professor Kevin Fenton, from Public Health England, told the BBC: “We need to help people take early action to reduce their risk of developing this serious condition.”



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