More than one in four patients in some NHS hospitals has diabetes, according to latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
The centre, which carries out a diabetes audit each year, has released new statistics that show over 25% of beds at three NHS hospitals in England are currently occupied by diabetic patients.
The hospital with the highest rate of diabetes patients is Bishop Auckland Hospital in County Durham, where 35% of patients suffer from the condition compared to last year’s figure of 31% recorded at Birmingham City Hospital. This is followed by Hammersmith Hospital in West London (28%) and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehave, Cumbria (25%).
“This is becoming a big problem in virtually every hospital and it seems to be getting worse,” commented Simon O’Neill, of Diabetes UK. “The biggest growth is in type 2 [diabetes] and we know that’s linked to a growing elderly population and a growing overweight and obese population.”
He added that hospital stays for people with diabetes tend to be 2-3 days longer than the average patient, and that this is partly due to a lack of knowledge about diabetes amongst general hospital staff, meaning some patients are not receiving adequate care and treatment.
“Often, the hospital mucks up their diabetes control and they’re not well enough to leave until the diabetes has been stabilised.”
Figures from the NHS also show that four in 10 diabetes patients are affected by some kind of ‘medication error’ while in hospital, including being given insulin without food.
“We’re also aware of people being allowed to develop foot ulcers in hospital just by not turning them and making sure they’re not spending all day in bed,” O’Neill continued.
Over 3.6 million Britons live with diabetes and this figure is expected to reach the 5 million mark within ten years, with the diabetic population rising by 100,000 to 150,000 each year.

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