A clear opportunity to improve type 2 diabetes care in Northern Ireland has been missed, according to a new report.
Putting a new type 2 diabetes care framework in place across Northern Ireland has been “slow”, despite the condition costing £400m a year to treat.
The report, conducted by the Northern Ireland Audit Office, said developments stalled after a review was carried out in 2003 suggesting various key areas should be adapted.
A strategy to deal with the condition was only introduced in 2016, meaning the number of people developing type 2 diabetes increased while no adequate prevention methods were in place.
Since 2004-2005 the prevalence of diabetes in Northern Ireland has increased by 71%, with figures rising from 51,500 to 88,300 in 2015-16.
Kieran Donnelly, the Comptroller and Auditor General, said: “Type 2 diabetes is a matter of concer, both in terms of its impact on human life and its cost to the public purse. Already it is estimated that treating diabetes costs Northern Ireland £400 million annually.”
Mr Donnelly has made a number of recommendations including establishing a model to measure future treatment costs and improving information access to members of the public to keep them better informed.
He added: “The current strategy offers potential to secure real improvements. However, for too long, the prevalence of the condition, the serious healthcare outcomes for people living with it, and the costs associated with treating it have been increasing unchecked.”
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