Diabetes in coastal West Sussex hits ‘record high’

Health news. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111621001
Health news. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150730-111621001

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Coastal West Sussex has reached a record high, according to a charity.

More than 27,500 people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the area – an increase of 9 per cent since 2012.

Diabetes UK said there has been an average increase of 6 per cent across England over the past three years.

The number of people living with diabetes in the UK has gone over 4 million for the first time, with 3.5 million people being diagnosed with the condition – an increase of 119,965 compared to the previous year.

There are also thought to be 549,000 people who have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

‘Ageing population’

Dr David Stokes, clinical lead for Diabetes at NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG and local GP, said: “Care for people with diabetes is a clear priority in Coastal West Sussex.

“We do have an aging population and a larger number of people aged over 65 than elsewhere in the country, and that means that there are more people living with diabetes in our area.

“But what these figures show is that more people locally are getting diagnosed and that is so important.

“The local NHS can’t help people to stay well and manage their diabetes if we don’t know they are living with the condition.

“GPs locally are really taking this issue seriously, and are working very hard, amongst competing demands and significant pressures, to identify more people living with diabetes so they can get a formal diagnosis and receive the help and support they need.”

Dr Stokes said early diagnosis mean people can manage their conditions while preventing any future complications.

Risk of blindness and amputation

Diabetes UK has warned that the need for the NHS to commit to provide adequate care and diabetes education across the UK is ‘more urgent than ever’ with people experiencing conditions such as blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

Jill Steaton, south east regional manager, for Diabetes UK, said: “Over the past three years we have continued to see the number of people with diabetes in Coastal West Sussex 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.”

Support programmes

Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) runs monthly courses in the area and last year launched a support programme for people with diabetes with a GP and nurse trained in every GP practice.

Dr Stokes added: “We have also recently been out to speak to patients and their carers to see what is working.

“Encouragingly almost three quarters said local services were caring and that they felt supported by their GP, specialist diabetes nurse and eye specialist.

“More than 85 per cent of people also found the education courses helpful and a useful way for them to manage their condition.”

He said diabetes prevention is also ‘vital’ and the CCG has been able to help patients at risk of developing the condition.

“We can always do more though, and we have set up a cross NHS working group to bring patients together with the organisations involved in providing diabetes services locally to identify further improvements, particularly in relation to self-care, to make sure that local people are receiving the best possible help and support,” he added.

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