The cost of treating type 2 diabetes to NHS Scotland rose to more than £75 million in 2013-14, according to worrying new figures.
The data shows that the NHS has spent £75.7 million on a total of 3.34 million type 2 diabetes medications over the last 12 months, up from £73.2 million the previous year and £74.2 million in 2011-12.
An additional £6.1 million went towards prescription medicines for obesity over the three-year period, taking the total drug treatment bill for type 2 diabetes and obesity to nearly £230 million.
Conservative health spokesma, Jackson Carlaw, who obtained the figures, said they show the two related conditions “are damaging NHS finances”, as well as harming the health of the Scottish population.
“Of course, not every case of diabetes is related to weight. But the fact prescriptions for both diabetes and obesity are rising at an alarming rate year-on-year cannot be ignored,” he commented.
“While we need the NHS and Scottish government to do all they can to force through messages on healthy living, it isn’t just down to them. There has to be a level of personal responsibility.
“Obesity generally isn’t something you catch on a bus, and people know that a healthy diet and active lifestyle are what’s required to keep the weight down. If they don’t, diabetes is just one of the serious conditions lurking round the corner.”
A spokesman for the Scottish government said: “Our diabetes action plan, which will be updated this summer, sets out a clear commitment to the prevention and early detection of diabetes and to improve the treatment and care of people with diabetes.”
Highlighting the range of measures that have been implemented to try to tackle the growing obesity epidemic, he added: “We are supporting child healthy weight interventions and are increasing opportunities for children to get involved in sport and physical activity, through active schools and our target of all primary children having two hours of PE lessons a week.”
“We also recently announced a £50m investment in school sport.”
Latest health statistics indicate that around 220,000 people in Scotland have type 2 diabetes.

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