Up to 7,000 Brits are needlessly dying of diabetes every year

Up to 7,000 Brits are needlessly dying of diabetes every year, charity warns

  • Diabetes UK found there were 1.9million missed health checks in 2020/2021 
  • Excess deaths in January to March this year were three times higher than 2022 

Thousands more people are dying from diabetes every year after disruptions to care resulted in nearly 2 million missed health checks and appointments.

A report revealed there have been 7,000 excess deaths a year involving the condition since the pandemic – a rise of 13 per cent.

Analysis by Diabetes UK found 1.9 million missed health checks in 2020/21, which are key to preventing complications from the condition.

It said the worsening picture was ‘deeply alarming’, with 1,461 excess deaths between January and March this year – three times as high as the same period in 2022.

People with diabetes are supposed to have a series of checks including blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

Diabetes is now a ‘rapidly escalating crisis’ in the UK, as the number of people with the condition is thought to have exceeded five million for the first time. Almost 4.3 million people were living with diabetes in 2021/22, according to the latest figures for the UK and another 850,000 people have diabetes and are completely unaware of it. Left untreated type 2 diabetes can lead to complications including heart disease and strokes

But disruptions caused by the pandemic and subsequent strikes have resulted in many patients being left ‘to go it alone’.

The charity is calling for urgent action to address care backlog and prevent more avoidable deaths.

A survey of more than 11,000 people with diabetes in England, found almost half (48 per cent) had experienced difficulties managing their condition in 2022.

Less than half (47 per cent) received all eight of their required checks in 2021-22, meaning 1.9m million people did not receive the care they need – 300,000 fewer than in 2019/20.

Read more: Toddlers are increasingly being treated for diabetes and high blood pressure amid soaring obesity rates – while more teens are suffering from knee problems and gallstones

There was also widespread regional variation with just a quarter of people in the worst performing areas getting all checks, compared to nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) in the best.

At primary care level, the variation was even more stark, ranging from 10 per cent in the lowest performing to 86 per cent in the best.

The report comes after it was revealed the number of diabetes cases in the UK is thought to have surpassed 5 million for the first time.

Almost 4.3million people were living with diabetes in 2021-2022, according to figures, with another 850,000 people living with the condition but unaware they have it.

Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said more needed to be done to ensure people receive potentially life-saving routine care.

He said: ‘Diabetes is relentless, and people living with diabetes need the close support and monitoring of healthcare professionals. This routine care can be lifesaving, and help prevent other serious complications such as amputations, strokes and heart disease.

‘Yet far too many people with diabetes are being left to go it alone managing this challenging and potentially fatal condition, with deeply alarming numbers of checks either missed or delayed.’

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