£11m spent on Wakefield’s growing diabetes crisis

Elizabeth Rhodes
Elizabeth Rhodes

A huge increase in rates of diabetes is causing an urgent public health crisis, warns a hard-hitting report.

The council’s adults and health overviews and scrutiny committee said more needs to be done to tackle an epidemic of the blood sugar disorder.

A draft report by the committee praises measures to treat and prevent diabetes, which can lead to a string of health complications and the need for limb amputations.

But it warns of a rising financial and social cost of treating diabetes in Wakefield, which has higher than average incidences of the condition.

In the report, The Cost of Diabetes, committee chairwoman Coun Betty Rhodes said: “In the Wakefield district there are 18,304 people over the age of 17 years diagnosed with diabetes.

“It is difficult to quantify the cost of diabetes locally but in 2012–13 the total spend for Wakefield was just over £11m.

“The true figure is likely to be much higher when indirect costs such as increased death and illness, work loss and the need for informal care are taken into account.

“The big increase in the number of people with diabetes confirms that we are in the middle of an unfolding public health crisis that demands urgent action.”

The report warns that a growing obesity crisis is fuelling rises in rates of type 2 diabetes, which can be controlled by eating a healthy diet and monitoring your blood glucose level.

The report makes a string of recommendations to improve prevention and care of diabetes, and warns of variations in the standard of treatment in different parts of the district.

The report also said: “More needs to be done to reduce the variation in the delivery of diabetes care across GP practices

“More effort to target those at risk of type 2 diabetes should be a priority as well as improving healthcare for all people with diabetes.”

The report also recommends more should be done to help staff in care homes provide the right care for residents with diabetes.