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NHS faces spiralling diabetes prescription costs
THE NHS in York and North Yorkshire faces a spiralling number of future diabetes prescriptions experts have warned.
The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show the number of prescriptions attributed to diabetes during 2011/2012 reached 40 million, up 50 per cent on six years ago.
The report also shows four per cent of residents in the NHS North Yorkshire and York PCT region have diabetes, while in East Yorkshire, the number is 4.9 per cent for 2011/2012.
Dr Shaun O'Connell, from NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, said the NHS and PCT are working hard to ensure patients receive the highest standards of care as soon as they are diagnosed.
He said: “These figures represent the rising cost of care for patients with diabetes and are a good indication of the major challenge the NHS faces at a local level.
“GPs and hospital colleagues are reviewing the way local diabetes services work to try and make sure all patients get the highest standards of care and can cope with the new cases of diabetes being diagnosed. As the population grows and people live longer, inevitably there will be more people with long term conditions like diabetes.”
Spending on diabetes and the aging population have been identified as major challenges facing the new clinical commissioning group which will take over responsibility from NHS North Yorkshire and York PCT, for spending NHS money next year. Type 2 diabetes, the most common, occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body's cells do not react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance and can be treated with pills or, in some cases, diet alone.
Type 1 diabetes is when the body produces no insulin at all, leaving sufferers dependent on regular injections for the rest of the life.
Dr O’Connell said: “New drugs to treat diabetes reduce the risk of complications like heart attacks and poor circulation, but they come at a cost to us all. A cheap, potentially free way of improving diabetes is to undertake daily exercise and keep your weight in check. “Simply losing weight improves diabetes and can dramatically reduce the number of drugs patients with diabetes need to take. Some patients, on their doctor's advice, may even be able to come off their diabetes medication altogether.”
Tim Straughan, HSCIC chief executive, said: “Our figures show diabetes is having a growing impact on prescribing in a very obvious way – from the amount of prescriptions dispensed to patients in primary care to the annual drugs bill costs to the NHS.”