DIABETES is on the rise in Solihull with new figures revealing the number of people diagnosed with the condition has reached a record high.
Using figures taken from GP patient data, the number people with diabetes in the Solihull area has seen an 11 per cent hike in in the last three years to 13,500 sufferers – much higher than the national average of 6 per cent.
The news comes as the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has tipped over the 4 million mark for the first time.
Now Diabetes UK, a national charity that cares for and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by diabetes, is urging the NHS to commit to providing nationwide diabetes care.
The charity is also calling for greater work to prevent and educate against Type 2 diabetes – often triggered by an unhealthy lifestyle – in a bid to help the 549,000 people across the country who are thought to have Type 2 but are yet to be diagnosed.
Peter Shorrick, Diabetes UK Regional Manager Midlands, said: “Over the past three years we have continued to see the number of people with diabetes across the West Midlands rise at an alarming rate and these latest figures are a stark call and urgent call for action to tackle this serious health condition.
“Tragically, we are continuing to see too many people with diabetes suffering serious complications, and even dying before their time, and we know that key reasons for this are that they are being denied both the care and access to education that would help them to manage their condition well.
“With a record number of people living with diabetes, there is no time to waste in getting serious about providing better care and diabetes education.
“Until this happens, the rising number of people with diabetes will continue to be denied the best chance of living long and healthy lives and the NHS will continue to be crippled under avoidable but escalating costs of treating poorly managed diabetes.”
Responding to Diabetes UK’s calls, Dr Patrick Brooke, Accountable Officer of Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said the CCG was working closely with its Birmingham colleagues and that together they had already been successful under NHS England’s Diabetes Prevention Programme.
He added: “The old adage of prevention is better than cure holds true, which is why we have set up a programme review of education packages, so we can offer local people information that meets their needs.
“We recognise that multiple approaches are needed to tackle diabetes for those patients ‘at risk’ of becoming diabetic, which is why we working closely with our public health colleagues.
“We hope that by offering them support tailored to their needs, we can stop the rapid growth in diabetes.”