New figures which have been released indicate that diabetes drugs cost the NHS England in excess of £2.2m daily, which is about 10% of the service’s overall drugs budget.
According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the prescription numbers for diabetes treatment have increased by 66.5%. During the past year, in excess of 45 million prescription items, such as anti-diabetic drugs, insulin and monitoring devices were provided to patients within England. This is an estimated 18 million increase on what was prescribed during 2005/6.
The incidence of diabetes is increasing throughout the UK, and although these figures are for England only, it is more than likely that the same applies to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. It is stated that approximately 3.2m people in the UK live with diabetes. This is about 5% of the overall population.
The main risk factors for type-2 diabetes are being overweight and obesity. Experts have suggested that in order to achieve a reduction in the NHS costs for diabetes, focus should be placed on prevention.
According to Diabetes UK, the NHS Health Checks should be able to identify those who are at high risk of diabetes, but thus far the implementation of the schemes has not been implemented correctly.
Local councils have now taken on the responsibility for public health and have asked the Government to direct some of the VAT funds on sugary foods and drink to enable the introduction of activity and weight-loss programmes to be implemented locally.
The chairman of HSCIC, Kingsley Manning, said this report sheds light on the increasing costs for managing diabetes in the primary care sector.
He said diabetes is one of the most commonly found life-threatening conditions in the UK and it now costs the NHS 10% of their drug bill.
Wales is said to have the highest obesity level prevalence. Around 173299 people in Wales live with diabetes, out of a population of 3.1 million.
Image Credit: Oskar Annermarken