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Diabetes UK have warned that the wellbeing of four in five people with diabetes is at risk, as they are failing in meeting targets to keep their condition under control. The charity’s figures, which were obtained by analysing data from the National Diabetes Audit, suggest that only 20% of people in England and Wales whose wellness is affected by diabetes hit the recommended levels for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.
In the UK, there are currently around three million people diagnosed with the disease, and 24,000 people with diabetes die early every year in England and Wales. Diabetes UK said that their figures, which also revealed that just 11% of type 1 diabetics meet the targets which help prevent the risk of complications, could explain why so many deaths occur. High blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar often indicates poor controls of a patient’s diabetes, and can lead to life-threatening complications such as kidney failure and stroke.
Diabetes UK has urged that, if you have diabetes, you need to get the recommended nine annual checks to prevent future problems, which only 54% of people with diabetes in England currently get. The charity noted that action also needs to be taken against parts of the NHS with the worst record, and the government should make poor performing areas accountable as, in some places, less than 20% of people with the condition were getting the checks.
According to Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, ‘Given that diabetes is serious and can lead to early death if not supported to manage their condition, it is extremely worrying that so few people have it under control. The high rate of preventable complications is the inevitable consequence of a healthcare system that has all too often not been good enough and this highlights the need for local services to put in place self-management support programmes to help people manage their diabetes well.’
She added, ‘At the moment there is virtually no access to the ongoing education and support to help people manage their diabetes and help avoid complications to reduce their chance of early death.’ However, a spokesperson from the Department of Health responded by saying, ‘We are determined to improve NHS services across the country for people with diabetes and end the unacceptable variation in care that still exists. We have set clear objectives for the NHS to improve the care and management of people with diabetes and we will be monitoring NHS England to make sure this is delivered.’