40 per cent of diabetes patients do not receive all the recommended health checks needed to manage the condition, according to a report from Diabetes UK: the failures are leading to unnecessary deaths and huge expense for the NHS.
Ten per cent of the NHS budget is spent on diabetes, 80 per cent of which goes towards the treatment of complications. This may explain the problem: so much is spent on treating the effects of poorly managed diabetes that there is very little money to be invested in preventive healthcare, the like of which would reduce the incidence of complications.
The report suggests that by tackling the root of the problem – that is, by preventing the development of type 2 diabetes and encouraging better control for type 1 patients through improved education – the NHS will not have to contend with such a high incidence of renal disease, cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, retinopathy, amputation, and premature deaths.
In fact, care is getting worse. Last year, only 16 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes met the three recommended treatment targets; 43 per cent received the eight annual recommended health checks. That figure has since dropped to 41 per cent.
Meanwhile, only 46 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes under the age of 40 received the eight health checks. This is a general trend: the report revealed that people of working age receive poorer care than the elderly.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “This is not a question of spending more money. In fact, better ongoing standards of care will save money and reduce pressure on NHS resources.
“It’s about people getting the checks they need at their general-practitioner surgery and giving people the support and education they need to be able to manage their own condition.
“Doing this, together with improving diabetes care in the hospital, would give people with diabetes a better chance of a long and healthy life and save the NHS a significant amount of money. We want to work with local authorities to be able to help them put good practice into place.”

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