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PS30m - staggering NHS cost of treating diabetes.

Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter

TREATING diabetic patients has cost the North East NHS almost PS30m in the past 12 months. The number of drugs given out to treat diabetes cost the region's NHS a staggering PS29,414,908 in 2013/14 as the condition continues to take its toll across the region.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed the full cost of the number of prescriptions for the treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, including insulin, anti-diabetic drugs and monitoring devices.

Within just one year, there has been a 5.7% increase on the previous year of 2011/12.

Dr Guy Pilkington, clinical chair of NHS Newcastle West Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "It does not surprise me the amount of money that is spent in the region on diabetes treatment. Diabetes is a long-term condition that is increasing and affects between 6% and 7% of the adult population.

"The diabetes epidemic is largely driven by the fact that the population is getting heavier and the North East has areas of high rates of obesity.

"We know there are some very well-known initiatives that can be used to reduce the impact of Type 2 diabetes that do not require medication, such as a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

"Locally, we are absolutely committed that people adopt a healthy lifestyle, and we absolutely believe that this is worth investing in."

Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) spent the most on diabetes drugs in the last 12 months at PS4,997,548, closely followed by Sunderland CCG at PS4,431,488.

Anna Lynch, director of public health for County Durham at Durham County Council, said: "We recognise the increasing rates of diabetes in the county, specifically Type 2 diabetes, which on the whole is preventable by adopting a healthier lifestyle with a focus on healthy eating, a healthy weight, and appropriate physical activity.

"We are in the process of commissioning a Well-being For Life service, which will involve working with our communities on behaviour change linked to better health outcomes for individuals and families in County Durham.

"We also work closely with our 14 Area Action Partnerships on health issues that impact on their specific communities."

In little under a decade, the number of prescriptions for the treatment of diabetes has risen by 66.5% nationally, according to the HSCIC.

As many as 1,843,493 prescriptions were issued across the North East in the last 12 months, a rise of 218,629 on the year before.

Mother-of-one Deb Kelly, 51, of Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, has Type 2 diabetes and believes that people need to "start to take control of their weight and lifestyle".

She said: "I can see that diabetes is a ticking time bomb, and it is only going to get worse if people don't look after their health. There needs to be education about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and children need to be taught how to cook good, healthy food."

In 2013/14, 45.1million prescription items were handed out to patients in England, an 18m rise on the number prescribed in 2005/6. The HSCIC said that this equates to an average of 123,610 items every single day. It also found that prescriptions given out by GPs to manage diabetes cost the NHS PS2.2m on average every day in 2013/14.

HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: "Today's report brings to light the rising costs for managing diabetes in primary care.

"Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent life-threatening conditions in England and accounts for almost 10% of the drugs bill."

COUNTING COST DURHAM DALES, EASINGTON AND SEDGEFIELDTotal prescription cost: PS4,997,548 Number of prescriptions: 320,700 SUNDERLAND Total prescription cost: PS4,431,488 Number of prescriptions: 288,482 NORTHUMBERLAND Total prescription cost: PS4,290,627 Number of prescriptions: 280,038NORTH DURHAMTotal prescription cost: PS4,095,310 Number of prescriptions: 216,048 NORTH TYNESIDE Total prescription cost: PS2,992,762 Number of prescriptions: 180,254 GATESHEAD Total prescription cost: PS2,562,039 Number of prescriptions: 182,042 SOUTH TYNESIDE Total prescription cost: PS2,541,370 Number of prescriptions: 137,954 NEWCASTLE WEST Total prescription cost: PS1,848,476 Number of prescriptions: 134,928 NEWCASTLE NORTH AND EAST Total prescription cost: PS1,655,288 Number of prescriptions: 103,047


Dr Guy <B Pilkington, and Deb Kelly
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 15, 2014
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