Leading healthcare journal Diabetic Medicine has criticised the NHS's record on diabetes saying that more than three-quarters of spending on treating the condition is "wasted".

The Impact Diabetes report details how the spiralling cost of dealing with "complications" will mean that, by 2035, diabetes will account for 17 per cent of total NHS spending at nearly £17 billion.

Baroness Barbara Young, from charity Diabetes UK who helped compile the report, said: "The report shows that without urgent action, the already huge sums of money spent on treating diabetes will rise to unsustainable levels that threaten to bankrupt the NHS.

"The most shocking part of this report is the finding that almost four-fifths of NHS diabetes spending goes on treating complications that in many cases could have been prevented.

"That's hugely wasteful - in human life, in the quality of human life, and in NHS budgets. We need to stop this now and make sure people get the right sort of care early on in their condition."

Diabetes cases in children are already increasing year on year - and this is thought to be attributable to the growing obesity crisis.

The study looked at annual direct patient care costs for the 3.8 million people in the UK who have either Type 1 (largely heretidary) and Type 2 (largely diet-affected) diabetes, with Type 2 at £8.8bn being far higher than that of Type 1 at £1bn.

Complications occur when people with diabetes sustain high levels of glucose over a long period, leading to increased risk of kidney failure, nerve damage, damage to the retina, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Given current tightening of NHS budgets, Diabetes UK believe prevention is key and recommend investment in more frequent health checks for young people.

Posted 26/04/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com