THE diabetes epidemic that health chiefs have been predicting is in full swing according to shock new figures which show treating it is costing Wigan’s NHS £5m a year.
Statistics released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) revealed that the number of people with diabetes in the borough has risen from 17,807 to 21,624 in under five years and health chiefs fear the actual number is far higher.
Last year, £4,867,764 of the local NHS budget (9.5 per cent of the total and 4.2 per cent of the total prescriptions dispensed) was spent treating people with diabetes.
With the NHS having to make huge savings due to Government cuts the news is a worrying sign for the future.
Wigan health chiefs say people need to do more to help themselves from developing diabetes.
Dr Sanjay Wahie, local GP and medicines lead at Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This report highlights the growing problem of people developing various forms of diabetes which has an impact on their health and wellbeing and often means that they require long term medication.
“The number people with diabetes is increasing, for example, we dispensed over 244,000 prescriptions at a cost of over £4.8m in 2013/14 across the borough.
“If we are to avoid further increases we must all consider how we can avoid developing diabetes by taking regular exercise, eating more healthy food and reducing the amount of alcohol we drink.”
In June it was reported that one in every seven patients admitted to Wigan’s hospitals have diabetes.
Health chiefs say this is costing the NHS an estimated £10bn a year nationally.
HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: “The 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 per cent of the drugs bill. Our latest data highlights the growing implications to the NHS and patients of managing this condition.”