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Over 1 million people living with diabetes across the North of England

We're calling for action as stats show just 34% of those diagnosed with diabetes in the North are receiving the care they need.

As part of our Diabetes is Serious campaign, we're calling on NHS systems across the North of England to put diabetes at the heart of local health plans so people living with, and at risk of, diabetes get the care they need as the numbers of people living with the condition continues to rise.

The announcement, which coincides with Diabetes Week, comes after we recently revealed that thousands of people with diabetes are still struggling to access vital care. Those from the most deprived areas of the country least likely to have access to the care they need.

With over 1 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the North of England¹, just 34% of those diagnosed have received all eight of the recommended care checks in 2020/21².

A recent survey that we carried out also showed that 51% of people in the North West said they had difficulties managing their condition in 2021.

People living in the most deprived areas of the region were more likely to have had difficulty, with 58% in the most deprived compared to 53% in the least deprived and of those who experienced difficulties managing their diabetes 65% per cent in the North West attributed this in part to not having sufficient access to their healthcare team.  

Clare Howarth, Head of the North of England at Diabetes UK said:

“Diabetes can’t wait. Without access to essential care people with diabetes risk serious complications, such as amputation, stroke, heart disease, sight loss and mental health problems. These complications devastate lives and can even lead to early death, yet we know these are all avoidable if people receive the care and support they need and deserve.”

John from Greater Manchester was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over 40 years ago. He feels unsupported in managing his condition and despite living with a tremor for the past few years, which makes it difficult for him to test his blood glucose levels, he’s struggled to access equipment which could make it easier for him to test.

John says: “I’ve been told I need to test my blood sugars at least four times a day, but it’s incredibly difficult for me to do it so frequently because of the severity of my tremor. I’ve been told that using a continuous glucose monitor or similar technology could help but that I’m not currently eligible for it.

“I’ve found it really difficult to find out what is happening with my diabetes care. Since the pandemic, most of my appointments have been over the phone, but there’s never any certainty as to when somebody is going to call. This makes it hard for me to prepare for these appointments and ask the questions that I need to – especially as I always seem to speak to a different person each time.”

John adds: “I’ve been bounced around different services and I never seem to get the chance to speak to someone about the decisions that are being made regarding my treatment. At one point decisions were made regarding my medication but weren’t properly communicated between services. It left me feeling really out of control of my condition.”

After the launch of our report into diabetes care published earlier this year, we're are also holding a free online event on Tuesday 21st June 2022 aimed at bringing together healthcare professionals, people affected by diabetes and decision makers from across the North of England to look at next steps for getting care in the region back on track. 

Clare Howarth added: “We know the NHS has worked tirelessly to keep us safe throughout the pandemic, but the impacts on care for people living with diabetes have been vast. Urgent action is now required, which is why we’re calling on the UK Government to prioritise the recovery of diabetes care and to recommit to improving outcomes for people with and at risk of diabetes in the updated NHS Long Term Plan. We’ll continue to press for a renewed focus on diabetes to get this essential, life-saving care back on track.”


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