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Diabetes Care in Crisis

A survey This report was prepared and funded by the InDependent Diabetes Trust, a charity for people who live with diabetes 2015: Highlighting the views of people with diabetes and how that relates to the reality of today’s NHS

There are over 3 million people with diabetes in the UK with an estimated 90% having Type 2 diabetes and the remaining 10% having Type 1 diabetes. The incidence of both types of diabetes is increasing, especially Type 2 diabetes and by 2030 the number of people with diabetes is expected to rise to 4.6 million.

Diabetes costs an estimated 10% of the NHS budget, equivalent to £10 billion per year. These high costs are mainly due to treatment of the complications of diabetes which include heart disease, visual impairment and blindness, kidney disease and nerve damage which can lead to amputations. Evidence shows that good control of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes reduces the risk of diabetic complications. However, despite improvements in glucose monitoring, insulin administration, new drugs for Type 2 diabetes, studies show that many people with diabetes have what can only be classed as ‘poorly controlled’ diabetes.

While the Diabetes Prevention Programme is important, the Trust is very concerned that many of the over 3 million people who already have diabetes are not receiving the care and treatment they need and deserve.

The Trust has over 17,000 members, all of whom live with diabetes. It is clear from contact with members that the care, education and treatment of people with diabetes vary greatly across the country. Some people are receiving excellent care but unfortunately for many people, it is less than adequate. As a result of this in January 2015, the Trust circulated a survey to its then membership of 15,569 to investigate their views on the services they receive and their priorities for improving their care and therefore their future health.

Diabetes fits into the NHS category of ‘longterm conditions’ but the Trust believes this is not appropriate. The Trust recommends that an organisation similar to the now non-existent NHS Diabetes should be reinstated to improve care and the outcomes for people with diabetes. The case for this is covered by examining some of the evidenced-based key issues related to diabetes and those expressed by people with diabetes in the survey carried out by the Trust.

Internationally in June 2015, leaders at the G7 Summit were challenged by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) to develop and implement effective policy options to improve health outcomes of people with diabetes and to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The IDF directed the call to action to all prime ministers, ministers of finance and ministers of health of the G7 nations. The Trust’s members hope that their views will be listened to by those UK ministers.