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New report reveals the NHS bill for treating diabetes has doubled over last decade

New report reveals the NHS bill for treating diabetes has doubled over last decade

Prescribing costs for diabetes at £1.1 billion according to NHS Digital report.

Published: Nov 14, 2019
Category: Looking after yourself
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The latest published figures on the annual cost of prescribing treatments through the NHS has reported a record rise in the amount going towards treating people with diabetes.

The recently published NHS Digital report calculated the cost to the health service of treating diabetes at a record £1.07 billion for the period 2018/19.

The amount means expenditure on providing treatments for people with diabetes to manage the condition has almost doubled from £650 million recorded 10 years ago.

And the report highlighted that treating diabetes costs more than any other health condition, amounting to 13% of the total cost of prescribing across England.

This amounts to an average spend of £327.78 per patient for diabetes drugs, including insulin, testing strips and medicines taken to control blood sugar levels.

It is estimated that more than 5 million people in the UK could be diagnosed with diabetes by 2025, leading to predictions that the overall cost of treating the condition is expected to continue to rise.

In a bid to crack down on the number of people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the government responded to the NHS Digital report on obesity by introducing a tax on sugary drinks last year and encouraging manufacturers to reduce the level of sugar in drinks.

The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, introduced in 2016, and NHS long term plan aim to reduce the burden of treating diabetes on the NHS and provide people with type 2 diabetes empowerment and access to treatment.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Dabetes and obesity for the NHS in England, said: “Thanks to better diagnosis and treatment, the NHS is caring for more people than ever before with diabetes, but, with much of the increase in prescriptions down to a sustained and steep surge in the number of people with type 2 diabetes, this new data is another reminder of the urgent need to prevent type 2 diabetes from developing in the first place through healthier lifestyles.

“Hundreds of thousands of people at high risk have now been offered a place on the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, part of our Long-Term Plan for the health service.”

Tam Fry, Chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: “These figures are staggering and will inevitably continue to rise until a UK government begins seriously to tackle obesity, the major cause of type 2 diabetes.

“The level of diabetes is a national crisis that is blighting millions of people’s lives and could even bankrupt the NHS.”

The Prescribing Costs in Hospitals and the Community: England 2018-19 report includes the costs at list price, which is the basic cost of a drug excluding VAT and not necessarily the price the NHS paid. It does not take account of any contract prices or discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income.

The total cost for prescribing medicines across the NHS for 2018/19 was £18.9 billion – up 4.1% from £18.2 billion the previous year.

Additional figures from the report include that hospital use accounted for 53.7% of the total prescribing costs at £10.2 billion – an increase from £9.2 billion and 50.3% of the total cost for last year.

Read the NHS Digital report
Find out more about the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme
Find out more about type 2 diabetes
Read the DRWF leaflets A healthy diet and diabetes and Exercise and diabetes here
Category: Looking after yourself
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