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Diabetes cases surge

Tuesday February 11th, 2014

More than three million people in the UK have now been diagnosed with diabetes, according to figures published yesterday.

The numbers increased by some 163,000 last year, according to figures obtained by the charity Diabetes UK.

This meant that by the end of the year the total stood at 3,208,014 - or 6% of the population, the charity said.

It said the increase was the biggest in a single year since 2008.

The numbers may reflect increased efforts by GPs to diagnose the disease - together with the impact of rising rates of obesity.

But Diabetes UK said it believed many people with the problem remained undiagnosed.

It said that even when diagnosed, just 10% of patients were offered education on how to manage their condition.

It also called for full implementation of the NHS Health Check, which helps identify people over the age of 40 with diabetes.

The NHS spends 10% of its budget on diabetes - although recently an expert at Cardiff University criticised the amount spent on treating type 2 diabetes with insulin. The charity says 80% of the spending is on the complications of diabetes such as kidney failure and heart disease.

Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said the NHS needed to get better at treating diabetes.

She said: “The big increase in the number of people with diabetes confirms that we are in the middle of an unfolding public health disaster that demands urgent action.

"It is frightening to think that one in 17 people you walk past in the street has been diagnosed with the condition."

She added: "We also need to address the obesity crisis, which is what is fuelling the increase in Type 2, by making healthy food cheaper and more accessible and by making it easier for people to build physical activity into their daily lives."

The Royal College of Nursing claimed problems were being aggravated by a shortage of specialist diabetes nurses.

Chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: "Nursing staff have a vital role and clear responsibilities when caring for people living with diabetes and provide essential support to enable them to manage their condition and avoid complications.”

Tags: Diabetes | NHS | UK News

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