Hidden costs of diabetes could reach £60m

Betty Rhodes
Betty Rhodes

Diabetes could cost the district’s economy up to £60m a year, according to the latest figures.

A report, prepared for Wakefield Council’s Cabinet meeting next week, puts the cost of diabetes care in the district at around £11.8m.

But it estimates that hidden complications and indirect costs of the condition puts the cost at nearly six times that figure.

The report, conducted by the adults and health overview and scrutiny committee, says the £60m estimate was calculated based on the cost of treating complications, including kidney failure, strokes and amputation as well as costs to the economy such as being absent from work and early retirement.

It warns that urgent action needs to be taken to address the rising costs and tackle an epidemic of the blood sugar disorder, which it says is being fuelled by more cases of type 2 diabetes, linked to obesity and unhealthy lifestyles.

The report praised the approach to diabetes treatment in Wakefield but also recommended a number of improvements in prevention and care.

It states: “Additional resources should be targeted on prevention and health improvement.

“More needs to be done to reduce the variation in the delivery of diabetes care across GP practices.”

Speaking about the report, Coun Betty Rhodes, chair of the adults and health overview and scrutiny committee, said: “Our report has identified some excellent care, but there are areas for improvement, from access to education when people are diagnosed, right the way through to the care they receive in hospital.

“In a time of decreasing budgets yet increasing numbers of people affected, we must focus our efforts on education, prevention and management of diabetes and try to minimise the costly complications that can occur.”

Coun Pat Garbutt, cabinet member for adults and health, added: “Diabetes is often a silent and stealthy disease, and lots of money is spent on treating it.

“It can cause some awful complications and these come at a cost, both to the people suffering and their families, as well as to our local economy.

“In the last few years there has been a rapid rise in people suffering from the disease – and in people who have diabetes or pre-diabetic symptoms without knowing it.

“We now need to focus more of our efforts on awareness and prevention of this illness.”