Diabetes warning: Epidemic may ‘bankrupt the NHS’

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The cost of treatments for Types 1 and 2 diabetes has soared by almost 80 per cent to £1.08billion, with the medication accounting for 12.5p in every £1 spent on prescriptions by GPs. It is almost double the £650million bill for 2008/9, NHS Digital figures have revealed. Type 2 diabetes is caused by poor diet and obesity and can be treated by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity Forum, warned that Britain was facing a "national crisis".

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He said: "The overall cost of all the diseases triggered by obesity is £24billion every year.

"The figure is staggering and will inevitably continue to rise until a UK government seriously begins to tackle obesity.

"The level of diabetes is a national crisis that is blighting millions of lives and could even bankrupt the NHS."

Last year more than 55 million items were prescribed to the 3.2 million people living with the condition in England.

These included insulin, testings trips, anti-diabetic drugs and medicines for people when their blood sugar drops too low.

The bill for specific anti-diabetic drugs has risen by more than 220 per cent in the last decade, from £168million in 2008/9 to £540million in 2018/19.

Recent data also showed that almost 5,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes are admitted to hospital every day.

Diabetes UK said more action was needed to prevent people developing the condition. Helen Dickens, the charity's assistant director of policy and campaigns, told how diabetes was responsible for "26,000 early deaths per year".

She said: "The answer is not to reduce spend on medications to treat the condition but to prevent the onset of its devastating complications."

Doctor measuring patient's waistlineAlmost 5,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes are admitted to hospital every day (Image: sefa ozel/Getty Images)

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens added: "Our ever-expanding waistlines are taking a growing toll."

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