Diabetes healthcare in England has drifted into a “state of crisis” where fewer than half of people with the condition are getting the basic minimum care they need, the charity Diabetes UK has warned.
The organisation’s State of the nation 2012 report argued that just 6% of people with diabetes are getting the regular checks and services they need, as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
This, in turn, is helping to fuel a rise in rates of diabetes-related complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke, all of which dramatically reduce quality of life and can lead to an early death.
These complications accounted for about 80% of NHS spending on diabetes and are the main reasons that treating diabetes costs about 10% of the entire NHS budget, the charity added.
In a separate study, researchers have predicted that the amount spent by the NHS each year on diabetes in the UK could nearly double from £9.8 billion to £16.9 billion over the next 25 years, the equivalent of 17% of its entire budget.
Another report, in the Diabetic Medicine journal in April 2012, also suggested that the cost of treating diabetes complications is expected almost to double, from the current total of £7.7 billion to £13.5 billion.
The total cost associated with diabetes in the UK stands at £23.7 billion and is predicted to rise to £39.8 billion by 2035/36, something Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, has branded an “unfolding public health disaster”.
There are around 3.8 million people living with diabetes in the UK and by 2035/36 this is expected to increase to 6.25 million, according to the charity.