Diabetes patients experience 200,000 potentially devastating complications, such as amputation and cardiovascular events, each year, according to new analysis.
The analysis, based on data from the National Diabetes Audit, showed that in 2012-13 there were 199,537 cases of diabetes-related complications in England and Wales.
“The NHS must get better at giving people with diabetes the education they need to take control of their condition, and ensuring that everyone with the condition is getting their essential health checks”
The charity Diabetes UK warned that the figure illustrates the frightening scale of the condition and highlights the urgent need for the NHS to make improving diabetes care a priority.
It noted that diabetes accounts for 10% of the entire NHS budget, and the NHS spends £8bn on treating the complications of diabetes, many of which could be prevented with good management.
Diabetes UK said that new figures showed that only 36% of people with diabetes in England and Wales were meeting the recommended levels for blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol, while even in the best performing area just 48% met the targets.
The warning about complications is the latest in a series issued by the charity over the summer about the cost linked to poor diabetes management.
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Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young described the level of complications as an “absolute tragedy” that put the future sustainability of the health service “at great risk”.
“With the numbers of people with diabetes rising at an alarming rate, it is vital that the government and the NHS act urgently to end the postcode lottery of diabetes care and ensure that all people living with diabetes get the support and care they need to live long healthy lives,” she said.
“In particular, the NHS must get better at giving people with diabetes the education they need to take control of their condition, and ensuring that everyone with the condition is getting their essential health checks,” she added.