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Community nursing cuts hampering diabetes care as prescription bill hits £1 billion a year

Nursing leaders warned cuts to community nursing are damaging diabetes care as the drug bill for the condition soared to £1billion a year.
Diabetes

Nursing leaders warned cuts to community nursing are damaging diabetes care as the drug bill for the condition soared to 1billion a year.

Diabetes medication costs around 2.6million a day, almost double the amount a decade ago.

New figures from NHS Digital (formerly known as the Health and Social Care Information Centre) show that more than 10% of the cost of all primary care prescriptions in England in 2015/16 were spent on diabetes.

Vital support

RCN public health professional lead Helen Donovan highlighted the loss of services to support people with diabetes and target obesity.

As with other long-term conditions, people with diabetes deserve the right support to properly manage their condition and avoid complications, she said.

Nurses play a big role in this, particularly working in the community, but cuts in this area mean many patients are missing out on this vital support. This

Nursing leaders warned cuts to community nursing are damaging diabetes care as the drug bill for the condition soared to £1billion a year.

Diabetes medication costs around £2.6million a day, almost double the amount a decade ago.

New figures from NHS Digital (formerly known as the Health and Social Care Information Centre) show that more than 10% of the cost of all primary care prescriptions in England in 2015/16 were spent on diabetes.

Vital support

RCN public health professional lead Helen Donovan highlighted the loss of services to support people with diabetes and target obesity.

‘As with other long-term conditions, people with diabetes deserve the right support to properly manage their condition and avoid complications,’ she said.

‘Nurses play a big role in this, particularly working in the community, but cuts in this area mean many patients are missing out on this vital support. This is bad for the health service’s finances, but more importantly it can be devastating for patients.’

The number of people with diabetes has increased steadily, the NHS Digital report says.

Avoidable complications

In 2014/15, 2.9 million adults were being treated for diabetes, or 6.4% of the population, up from 2.3 million (or 5.3% of the population) in 2009/10.

About 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes UK said that the NHS spends about £10billion a year managing diabetes, with the majority going on avoidable complications, such as amputations.

Diabetes UK head of policy Robin Hewings said: ‘We are spending more on things going wrong than helping people manage their condition well in the first place. This is why preventing cases of type 2 diabetes, combined with providing people diagnosed with diabetes with prescribed medication and the support and care they need to manage their condition effectively, will help to reduce costs to the NHS in the long term.’

The Department of Health said it was taking ‘strong action’ on tackling the condition, including establishing the world's first diabetes prevention programme.

 

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