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Report aims to reduce diabetes inequalities

A report launched to mark World Diabetes Day has revealed shocking statistics about people living in deprived areas. 

People in these areas are 2.5 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. They are also over three times more likely to develop the serious complications of diabetes including heart disease, stroke and kidney damage, than people from higher socio economic groups.

The report, 'Diabetes and the disadvantaged – reducing health inequalities in the UK', was published by Diabetes UK and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes. 

It shows that, following diagnosis, people in deprived communities are not getting the vital health checks they need to prevent complications developing. For example, they are less likely to have their blood glucose levels or blood pressure monitored or checks for retinopathy, which can cause blindness, and neuropathy, which can lead to amputation.

The report also addresses the range of problems for a variety of other groups with diabetes, including: elderly people, people with mental health problems, people from ethnic minorities, prisoners, and homeless people.

“With late diagnosis, poor care and poor lifestyles compounding the difficult task of managing diabetes, people in deprived communities are facing some real problems," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK. 

"The diagnosis of diabetes exacerbates existing problems for people in diverse groups, who may already be struggling to cope. It will take a huge shift in both attitudes and services to reverse this pattern for future generations.”

Adrian Sanders, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes said: “Not only is diabetes more common among disadvantaged groups, but the impact it has on their long-term health is worse."

Diabetes UK is calling for urgent action to redress the inequalities encountered by people in these groups. These include:

  • Protocols written by Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) that address the particular needs of diverse groups.
  • Strategies aimed at reducing inequality of health outcomes, developed with input from community stakeholders, which include awareness-raising messages with communication appropriate to all diverse groups.
  • Funding to redress inequalities. PCOs should be encouraged to channel funding according to their populations.
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