Huge NHS spend on diabetes care in North Lincolnshire

A patient gives an Insulin injection
A patient gives an Insulin injection

Startling new figures from NHS Digital have revealed that the NHS in North Lincolnshire is spending £774,000 more on diabetes prescriptions than it did three years ago.

The area's clinical commissioning group spent £4.24 million on prescribing medicines for the condition between April 2017 and March 2018.

In 2014-15, prescriptions cost £3.47 million. Diabetes drugs accounted for more than a tenth of money spent on prescriptions in north Lincolnshire.

The charity Diabetes UK said the increasing expenditure on prescriptions was due to the rising number of diabetics. Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use it.

Overall, the NHS paid for 215,000 prescriptions for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in north Lincolnshire, for around 11,485 diabetic patients. In 2014-15, 27,000 fewer prescriptions were issued.

Head of policy at the charity Diabetes UK, Robin Hewings, said: "The number of people diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes has doubled in the last 20 years, so it’s no surprise that the cost of medications has increased.

"The number of diabetes-related amputations in England is now at an all-time high, with more than 8,500 procedures being carried out each year. This equates to 24 minor and major amputations per day, or more than 160 a week.

"As well as helping people reduce their risk of diabetes through the NHS’s diabetes prevention programme, we should focus on spending more money now on helping people manage their diabetes well.””

Nationally, more than 90 per cent of people dealing diabetes have type 2, which in some cases can be managed with physical activity or planning meals.

Type 1 diabetes is always treated with insulin, although meal planning can also help to keep sugar at the right level.

The data also revealed that the NHS spent £1.41 million on insulin in north Lincolnshire. Devices to monitor diabetic patients' health, like glucose monitors or fitness trackers, cost £760,000.

There are now more than three million people in England with diabetes.

National clinical director for diabetes and obesity of NHS England, Professor Jonathan Valabhji, speaking about the issue said: "Thanks to better diagnosis and treatment, the NHS is caring for more people than ever before with diabetes and this new data highlights the urgent need to prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing in the first place.” A spokeswoman for the North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Our commissioners are not available to provide comment on this occasion.”