Diabetes UK Cymru said the NHS in Wales needed to improve the way it treated diabetes and its associated complications
The NHS in Wales needs to get better at dealing with diabetes, according to leading organisation as it warned of spiralling rates of the condition in coming years.
Diabetes UK Cymru said the number of people with the condition in Wales is projected to rise from 173,000 to 288,000 by 2025 and said the health service must improve on learning from evidence-based demonstrations of good diabetes care.
The organisation said the NHS in Wales spends £500m a year on diabetes care but this money is too often being used ineffectively, with the vast majority spent on treating complications that could often have been prevented if the person had received good healthcare in the first place.
It pointed to the £30m being spent on footcare after patients developed serious complications that can result in amputation.
In its report, Diabetes UK Cymru outlined interventions which have been shown to make savings quickly abut said health boards neededto be more flexible and accept the need for more pooling of budgets across primary, community and secondary care.
Dai Williams, director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “The NHS is spending an eye-watering amount on diabetes but the money isn’t being used effectively, which is running up a huge bill for the future.
“This report shows how dealing with problems early, such as by improved provision of education and better foot care, costs could be greatly reduced and more people would live longer and healthier lives. With such strong evidence, it is bewildering that health boards have clear plans to deliver these services and then fail to actually make them happen in practice.
“With the NHS operating in a period of flat budgets and with the number of people with diabetes rapidly increasing, it is really important that health boards see the bigger picture. One of the benefits of a national system for health ought to be fast and universal adoption of good practice.
“Put simply, if a service is shown to improve the care provided to people with diabetes and save money why on earth should it not be delivered universally and as quickly as possible.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The Together for Health – Diabetes Delivery Plan, which was launched in September 2013, puts patient awareness and support at the heart of the Welsh Government’s diabetes strategy.
“A key element is the introduction of a diabetes patient management system, which will allow clinicians to deliver better healthcare for people with diabetes. The plan also focuses on the need for education about diabetes so patients are fully involved in their care and able to contribute to the development of their personalised care plans.
“Health boards and NHS trusts have also developed their own plans to prevent diabetes and reduce the risk of long-term diabetic complications for their populations.”