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NHS accused of poor diabetes care

07 May 2014 08:35

Experts have accused the NHS of wasting billions of pounds of public money by failing to tackle diabetes early enough

Experts have accused the NHS of wasting billions of pounds of public money by failing to tackle diabetes early enough

Billions of pounds of public money is being wasted by the NHS as it fails to tackle diabetes early enough, it is warned.

Diabetes UK claims the vast majority of the £9.9 billion used to tackle the blood sugar condition nationwide each year is spent on treating complications that arise from the illness such as kidney damage.

In its report, The Cost of Diabetes, the charity argues that health bosses have failed to learn that early intervention can save taxpayers' money and improve the lives of millions of people living with diabetes.

As much as £7.7 billion goes towards addressing complications, according to the figures, while just £2.1 billion is spent on treating the actual illness itself. The authors point out that a large number of the complications resulting from diabetes could have been prevented if the patient had received good healthcare in the first place.

Late diagnosis or untimely care can lead to people spending extra days in hospital and suffering from kidney and nerve damage as a knock-on effect. This, in turn, also runs up substantial bills for the NHS.

Diabetes UK has recommended a series of measures to improve patient care and ensure money is no longer wasted.

One of these measures is the introduction of better programmes to educate on how to live with and manage diabetes, which it claims could save in the region of £2,200 per patient - equating to hundreds of millions of pounds each year - and lead to a reduction in the number of foot amputations.

Diabetics travelling abroad should protect themselves by taking out adequate travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions. This can provide peace of mind just in case complications develop while on the trip.

A sufferer's eyes, heart, nerves, feet and kidneys can all be affected by the illness.