Diabetes could overwhelm the National Health Service in Wales unless more action is taken to tackle this growing problem.
Charity group Diabetes UK Cymru has revealed that the number of people being treated for diabetes mellitus in the country has risen by nearly 10 per cent to around 167,000 in just two years,
However, it warns that this figure is on course to exceed a quarter of a million by 2025, as hundreds of thousands of people at increased risk of developing the type 2 form of the disease, which is linked to obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show, Dai Williams, director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “Waiting in the wings we’ve got 350,000 people with what’s called pre-diabetes, so their chance of developing the diabetes is much higher.
“The result of that for Wales, effectively, is it’s costing the NHS half a billion pounds a year, so we should be very worried about it.”
There are also concerns about the lack of health professionals who are trained to treat diabetic patients and help them self-manage their condition, particularly diabetes specialist nurses.
The Welsh government told Sunday Politics that ministers are consulting on a new NHS diabetes action plan to prevent diabetes and lower the risk of long-term complications so that diabetes incident rates and health care outcomes are comparable to the best in Europe.
The plan is due to be in place by June 2013.