Diabetes could 'bankrupt' the NHS in 20 years yet most spending is avoidable, say experts
Four-fifths of NHS diabetes spending goes on treating complicationsNumber of people with diabetes expected to rise from 3.8m to 6.25m by 2035
08:31 GMT, 25 April 2012
Diabetes will cost the NHS more than a sixth of its entire budget by 2035, a report has warned.
The disease accounts for 10 per cent (9.8 billion) of NHS spending, but this is projected to rise to 16.9 billion over the next 25 years, or 17 per cent of the health service's funds.
Yet researchers also found that up to four-fifths of the money goes on treating complications such as kidney failure, nerve damage and amputation, which are often preventable.
Their Impact Diabetes report, published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, also considered the indirect costs to individuals living with the condition, including those related to increased death and illness, the loss of income from stopping work, and the need for informal care.
It found the total associated with these extra burdens in addition to direct patient care in the UK stands at 23.7 billion and is predicted to rise to 39.8 billion by 2035.
There are around 3.8 million people living with diabetes in the UK and this is expected to increase to 6.25 million in just over two decades.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: 'This report shows that without urgent action, the already huge sums of money being spent on treating diabetes will rise to unsustainable levels that threaten to bankrupt the NHS.
'But the most shocking part of this report is the finding that almost four-fifths of NHS diabetes spending goes on treating complications that in many cases could have been prevented.
'The failure to do more to prevent these complications is both a tragedy for the people involved and a damning indictment of the failure to implement the clear and recommended solutions. Unless the Government and the NHS start to show real leadership on this issue, this unfolding public health disaster will only get worse.'
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: 'We agree that diabetes is a very serious illness and one that has a big impact on the NHS.
'That's why we are tackling the disease on three fronts. First, through prevention of Type 2 diabetes – encouraging people to eat well and be more active. Second, by helping people to manage their diabetes through the nine annual health care checks performed in primary care. And by better management of the condition in hospital.'
The report was put together by researchers at the York Health Economic
Consortium, in partnership with charities Diabetes UK, the Juvenile
Diabetes Research Foundation and Sanofi Diabetes.