Just one in five patients has got diabetes under control

Only one in five people with diabetes in England and Wales is reaching the targets for keeping their condition under control, a study reveals.

The analysis, based on data from the National Diabetes Audit, shows that 19.9% of people with diabetes in England meet the recommended targets for blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol. In Wales, this figure is just 18.5%.

For Type 1 diabetes the situation is even worse, with just 11.4% of people in England with this type of the condition meeting the treatment target.

Diabetes UK, which conducted the analysis, is calling for a big increase in the number of people with diabetes who get the nine annual checks recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and are then given support to meet their treatment targets. At the moment just 54% of people with diabetes in England are receiving the checks.

It also wants better delivery of structured education and care planning, so that people with diabetes are empowered to manage their own condition.

The NHS spends about £10 billion a year on diabetes - 10% of its entire budget - and about 80% of this goes on treating complications that could often have been prevented.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "Given that diabetes is serious, and can lead to early death if people with diabetes are not supported to manage their condition, it is extremely worrying that so few people have it under control.

"There are now 3 million people diagnosed with diabetes, and this number is rising quickly. The fact that so many of them do not have good control over their diabetes means that unless something changes we face a public health disaster. Whether these people have high blood glucose levels, blood pressure or cholesterol, they are at increased risk of diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, amputation, and stroke."

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