Over 40 per cent of local health boards in England tasked with improving the health and wellbeing of their local communities are failing to prioritise Type 2 diabetes prevention, according to a new report by Diabetes UK.The report, produced in collaboration with Novo Nordisk, found that only 41 per cent of health and wellbeing boards have committed to curbing the rapid increase of cases of Type 2 diabetes, despite the fact that there are currently around 3.5 million people living with the condition and this figure is expected to rise.
Too few health and wellbeing boards focus on Type 2 prevention
While many of the 152 Boards have identified diabetes as a priority, Diabetes UK has warned that too few of them have focused on preventing the condition, for example by setting out plans to implement the NHS Health Check.Only 45 per cent of boards mention the NHS Health Check in their joint strategic needs assessments, which is the document that sets out the health needs for their population. The Heath Check is important for preventing Type 2 diabetes and improving early diagnosis of the condition and is offered to everyone aged 40 to 74 to test their risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.The charity is also concerned that only 39 per cent of boards noted the need to improve the management of diabetes in their joint health and wellbeing strategies, which sets out their health priorities. At the moment around 40 per cent of people with diabetes are not getting the basic recommended healthcare that they need, which can have a direct impact on their health outcomes.
Poor care fuelling devastating complications
The charity says Type 2 diabetes prevention is vital as the rise of the condition, together with poor diabetes healthcare, is fuelling devastating diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, stroke, amputations and kidney failure.These complications are not only personally devastating but are also very expensive to treat and are placing a huge drain on the NHS. This can be seen in the fact 80 per cent of the £10 billion the NHS spends annually on diabetes goes on treating complications, many of which could be prevented with better diabetes healthcare and use of medications.Diabetes UK wants to see health and wellbeing boards use their influence to help to halt the continuing rise of diabetes and address the inadequate state of diabetes healthcare.
“We want to work with health and wellbeing boards”
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “While many health and wellbeing boards have already committed to addressing the huge challenge of diabetes and the impact it is having on their local communities, our report shows there are too many examples of boards not actually prioritising measures that we know address this challenge such as the NHS Health Check, which has the potential to find those with and at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.“Health and wellbeing boards are in a really good position to address the challenge of diabetes and we really want to see them driving effective and integrated actions to prevent Type 2 diabetes and ensure people with diabetes are supported to manage the condition. Without such action, the expensive complications of diabetes will continue to rise and place a huge burden on local health services.“This is why we really want to work with health and wellbeing boards to help them develop strategies that reflect the enormity of diabetes. This would help to ensure people at high risk are identified and given support to prevent diabetes and those with the condition are identified early to get the care they need to have the best possible chance of a long and healthy life.”The report follows on from an initial sample research that the charity conducted last year with Novo Nordisk. Diabetes UK is currently working with a selection of health and wellbeing boards to design tools and resources to support the development of strategies to reduce diabetes prevalence and improve management of the condition.The review of joint strategic needs assessments and health and wellbeing strategies was produced in collaboration with Novo Nordisk and funded by Novo Nordisk.