latest health care news

04.08.16

Cost of diabetes to NHS increases by 86% in last decade

The cost of diabetes drugs has increased by 86.1% between 2005-06 and 2015-16 and has now reached nearly £1bn.

New figures from NHS Digital, formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show that the cost of diabetes drugs has grown from £513.9m to £956.7m.

The number of anti-diabetes items being prescribed has also grown by 83.3%, despite the prevalence of diabetes in the general population increasing by just 6.4%.

Helen Donovan, public health professional lead at the Royal College of Nursing, said: “These stark figures show the need for a greater focus on preventing Type 2 diabetes.

“There is a close association between the increase in obesity and Type 2 diabetes and the prevention of both is essential. Encouraging healthier lifestyles would not only save the NHS money, it would improve countless lives.”

She added that patients are missing out on “vital support” because cuts to community nursing are making it harder to prevent them developing diabetes.

The figures show that the cost of insulin has increased from £220.8m to £343.7m, whilst the cost of antidiabetic drugs has increased from £146.8m to £422.7m.

The total cost of primary care has grown much less, increasing by just 15.6% from £7.8bn to £9bn.The cost of diabetes drugs now makes up 10% of all primary care costs.

The proportion of spending on diabetes drugs was highest in London, where it reached 13%, and the West Midlands, where it was at 12%.

The increased cost of diabetes comes at a time when NHS finances are in crisis. The NHS recently announced new financial penalties for trusts and CCGs which fail to meet targets in a bid to address the £22bn deficit.

Another recent audit from the HSCIC found that the number of hospital beds occupied by patients with diabetes increased from 14.6% in 2010 to 16.8% in 2015, although harm suffered by patients with diabetes in hospital had decreased in the same period.

A Public Accounts Committee report in January criticised management of diabetes by the Department of Health and the NHS, saying it was contributing to the rising cost of the condition.

NHS England recently promised that a new type 2 diabetes prevention programme will offer 20,000 places to patients in 27 areas by the end of the year.

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