ONE in seven patients in Wigan’s hospitals have diabetes according to latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).
The centre, which carries out a diabetes audit each year, has released new statistics that show nearly 15 per cent of beds at Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) are currently occupied by diabetic patients.
Health chiefs say this is costing the NHS an estimated £10bn a year nationally, yet many staff do not know how to treat it.
WWL Deputy Director of Nursing, Pauline Law. said: “We do our utmost to support and care for in-patients with diabetes.
“The latest figures for hospital in-patients with diabetes, compiled by the HSCIC, show 14.7 per cent of in-patients at Wigan Infirmary in 2013 were admitted with Type 1 or 2 diabetes.
“This figure is equivalent to approximately one in every seven in-patients, slightly lower than the England and Wales average of 15.8 per cent of hospital in-patients with diabetes. WWL in-patients with diabetes receive a same-day visit from the diabetes specialist nurse who carries out a review of their treatment to manage each patient’s diabetes.
“Understanding the need to continually improving care for in-patients with diabetes, WWL management and clinicians are making diabetes training for ward staff and the recruitment of additional specialist diabetes nurses a priority.
The most common form of diabetes, type 2, is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity, lack of exercise and poor diet.
Experts say there is a link between diabetes rates and obesity levels in an area. Of those in hospital with diabetes, 93 per cent have type 2. However, many with the condition are not obese and it is common in the elderly.
Diabetes accounts for around 10 per cent of the NHS budget, with most spent on complications such as amputations and stroke. As the number of those suffering from the condition increases, costs to the NHS are expected to soar to £17billion in the next 20 years.
Simon O’Neill, of Diabetes UK, said: “This is becoming a big problem in virtually every hospital and it seems to be getting worse. The biggest growth is in type 2 and we know that’s linked to a growing elderly population and a growing overweight and obese population.
“People with diabetes tend to end up staying two to three days longer than average because they take slightly longer to heal and recover. The level of knowledge about diabetes among general hospital staff isn’t that great.
“Often, the hospital mucks up their diabetes control and they’re not well enough to leave until the diabetes has been stabilised. There is a large number of medication errors in hospital, giving them insulin without food, causing them to have low blood sugar.
“We’re also aware of people being allowed to develop foot ulcers in hospital just by not turning them and making sure they’re not spending all day in bed.”