Diabetic patients have cost the North East NHS almost £30m in the last year in treatment for their chronic condition.
The number of drugs given out to treat diabetes cost the North East NHS a staggering £29,414,908 in 2013/14 as the condition continues to take its toll across the region, new figures show.
Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed the full cost of the number of prescriptions for the treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, including insulin, anti-diabetic drugs and monitoring devices for the condition.
Within just one year there has been a 5.7% increase in the previous year of 2011/12.
Dr Guy Pilkington, clinical chair of NHS Newcastle West Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It does not surprise me the amount of money that is spent in the region on diabetes treatment. Diabetes is a long-term condition that is increasing and affects between 6% and 7% of the adult population.
“The diabetes epidemic is largely driven by the fact that the population is getting heavier by being overweight and the North East has areas of high rates of obesity.
“We know there are some very well-known initiatives that can be used to reduce the impact of Type 2 diabetes that do not require medication, such as a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
“Locally we are absolutely committed that people adopt a healthy lifestyle and we absolutely believe that this is worth investing in.”
Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) spent the most on diabetes drugs in the last 12 months at £4,997,548, closely followed by Sunderland CCG at £4,431,488.
Anna Lynch, director of public health for County Durham at Durham County Council, said: “We recognise the increasing rates of diabetes in the county, specifically Type 2 diabetes, which on the whole is preventable by adopting a healthier lifestyle with a focus on healthy eating, a healthy weight, and appropriate physical activity.
“We are in the process of commissioning a Wellbeing For Life service which will involve working with our communities on behaviour change linked to better health outcomes for individuals and families in County Durham. We also work closely with our 14 Area Action Partnerships on health issues that impact on their specific communities.”
In little under a decade, the number of prescriptions for the treatment of diabetes has risen by 66.5% nationally, according to the HSCIC.
As many as 1,843,493 prescriptions were issued across the North East in the last 12 months, a rise of 218,629 on the year before.
Mother-of-one Deb Kelly, 51, of Rowlands Gill, Gateshead, has Type 2 diabetes and believes that people need to “start to take control of their weight and lifestyle”.
She said: “I can see that diabetes is a ticking time bomb and it is only going to get worse if people don’t look after their health. There needs to be education about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and children need to be taught at school how to cook good, healthy food.”
In 2013/14, 45.1m prescription items were handed out to patients in England, an 18m rise on the number prescribed in 2005/6.
The HSCIC said that this equates to an average of 123,610 items every single day. It also found that prescriptions given out by GPs to manage diabetes cost the NHS £2.2m on average every day in 2013/14.
HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: “Today’s report brings to light the rising costs for managing diabetes in primary care.
“Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent life-threatening conditions in England and now accounts for almost 10% of the drugs bill. Our latest data highlights the growing implications to the NHS and patients of managing this condition.”
Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield
Total prescription cost: £4,997,548
Number of prescriptions: 320,700
Total prescription cost: £4,431,488
Number of prescriptions: 288,482
Total prescription cost: £4,290,627
Number of prescriptions: 280,038
Total prescription cost: £4,095,310
Number of prescriptions: 216,048
Total prescription cost: £2,992,762
Number of prescriptions: 180,254
Total prescription cost: £2,562,039
Number of prescriptions: 182,042
Total prescription cost: £2,541,370
Number of prescriptions: 137,954
Total prescription cost: £1,848,476
Number of prescriptions: 134,928
Newcastle North and East
Total prescription cost: £1,655,288
Number of prescriptions: 103,047