1m an hour 'lottery' of NHS diabetes care: Thousands face complications including blindness, strokes and even death because of 'shocking' variations in treatmentFailures are leading to premature deaths according to Parliamentary groupAlmost half of sufferers not getting nine recommended annual checks
01:31 GMT, 20 March 2013
11:21 GMT, 20 March 2013
Thousands of people with diabetes are being failed by ‘shocking variations’ in NHS treatment, warn MPs.
The overall picture is of ‘poor, fragmented, expensive and patchy care’ despite 1million an hour being spent on diabetes by the NHS.
A new report by the All Party Parliamentary group for Diabetes (APPG) says failures are leading to devastating complications such as blindness, amputation and stroke, and premature deaths.
Failures: A new report by the All Party Parliamentary group for Diabetes (APPG) says NHS failures are leading to devastating complications such as blindness, amputation and stroke, and premature deaths
It found almost half of people with diabetes in England are not getting the nine annual checks recommended by the NHS, with some areas providing barely one in 20 patients with the whole range of checks.
The figures are worse for children, said the report, as 96 per cent don’t receive all the annual routine checks they should.
APPG chairman and Torbay MP Adrian Sanders said ‘Diabetes is one of the greatest challenges we face, yet diabetes healthcare is poor, patchy and expensive and too many people with the condition are not getting the care or support they desperately need.
‘It is completely unacceptable that barely half of people with diabetes are getting the nine checks and services recommended.
'This postcode lottery of care is leading to devastating health conditions and premature death for many people with the condition.
‘I was moved by the powerful testimony of a person with diabetes who had lost part of his foot as a complication of diabetes’ he added.
The number of Britons diagnosed with diabetes has hit three million for the first time this year, according to figures released earlier this month.
Challenge: APPG chairman and Torbay MP Adrian Sanders says that diabetes is 'one of the greatest challenges we face'
Nine out of ten people with diabetes have type 2 which occurs when the body gradually loses the ability to process blood sugar, leading to high levels which can damage body organs and years of ill-health. The remainder have type 1 which needs insulin treatment.
Type 2 is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating an unhealthy diet.
Every year in England and Wales, 24,000 people with diabetes die earlier than expected.
The latest report, which took testimony from patients, NHS staff and experts, says diabetes costs the NHS over 10billion a year – around 1million an hour.
But eighty per cent goes on managing complications, many of which could be prevented, it says.
Mr Sanders, who has type 1 diabetes, said the group heard repeatedly from people who were not receiving nine basic annual checks including blood pressure and blood glucose.
‘Others did not know what checks they had or had not had, or had no record of the results of those checks’ he said.
The number of people receiving all nine checks ranged from six per cent to around 69 per cent depending on the area they lived.
The report found ‘shocking’ variations in levels of amputations – with the majority preventable through good care.
One on four people in nursing homes has diabetes, but many are undiagnosed, said the report.
It follows the Public Accounts Committee diabetes report that highlighted the “depressingly poor” state of diabetes healthcare.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said ‘Time and time again we hear about the depressingly poor state of diabetes healthcare, yet we are still waiting to hear how the Government intends to deal with what is fast becoming a crisis.
‘The Government must designate diabetes as a priority and commit to ensuring everyone with diabetes gets good quality care so that they can live long healthy lives.
'This is why we welcome the All Party Parliament Group for Diabetes’ call for a national implementation plan for improved diabetes care.’
Karen Addington, chief executive of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said ‘The Diabetes APPG’s specific demand for increased government funding into type 1 diabetes medical research, echoes our own call.
'Type 1 diabetes is a serious and challenging condition that affects 400,000 UK children and adults – and cost the country 1.9 billion in 2011.
‘This research and its outcomes would not only improve the lives of those living with type 1 diabetes, but would also help protect the NHS from spiralling costs.’