- There were more than 1.7million admissions involving type 2 diabetics last year
- GP leaders warned some type 2 diabetics need up to 200 appointments a year
- The illness even appears to be having a worrying impact on younger women
One in ten patients admitted to hospital are suffering from a form of diabetes linked to being overweight and inactive.
The scale of the growing crisis was laid bare last night as it was revealed hospitals are being deluged with 5,000 type 2 diabetes patients every day.
It is taking an unprecedented toll on the under-pressure NHS, with doctors now seeing children aged under nine who need help.
GP leaders also warned that some patients need up to 200 health appointments a year to deal with their condition.
There were more than 1.7million admissions of patients with type 2 diabetes last year, costing the NHS an estimated £22million a day.
An admission can count the same patient more than once.
The figure has doubled in a decade and last night the head of the NHS warned: ‘Our ever-expanding waistlines are taking a growing toll.’
Simon Stevens warned the ‘alarming rise’ in admissions across the board was putting ‘avoidable pressure’ on our hospitals.
The illness appears to be having a worrying impact on younger women, according to the latest data from NHS Digital.
Two thirds of the type 2 diabetes admissions for the under-40s last year involved female patients and there is evidence they are more susceptible to complications.
The data only covers those patients with type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to being overweight and inactive – and largely preventable.
The reason the illness is so burdensome for the NHS is its devastating complications, which include heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations.
The figures show there were 4,992 admissions for women aged 20 to 29 in 2018/19, compared with 1,755 for men.
Similarly, there were 16,707 admissions for women aged 30 to 39 compared with 10,207 for men. Overall women accounted for 65 per cent of the 34,601 admissions among the under-40s last year.
Although type 2 diabetes is more common in men, research has shown women are more at risk of complications arising from it including heart disease, kidney disease as well as depression.
Disturbingly, the figures also reveal there were 940 admissions involving children and teenagers aged 19 and under in 2018/19. This included 45 admissions for children aged nine or under – a shocking statistic for an illness once only seen in middle-aged adults.
Regardless of their age or sex, most patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will need to take medication and attend regular check-ups for the rest of their lives.
Mr Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, said: ‘Our ever-expanding waistlines are taking a growing toll on our families’ health and on our NHS, with this alarming rise in admissions demonstrating the avoidable pressure it is putting on hospitals.
‘The NHS Long Term Plan is more than playing its part, with plans to prevent 200,000 people a year from developing type 2 diabetes, but wider society including supermarkets and retailers need to step up in the battle against the bulge.’
Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of 40 organisations which are aiming to reduce obesity levels, said: ‘Obesity significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and that’s why we need the Government to take strong action to protect children’s health, with comprehensive restrictions to curb the relentless marketing and promotion of junk food.’
An estimated 4.7million adults and children in Britain are living with diabetes, and the majority have type 2. This number has doubled since 1998, in line with rising obesity levels and the condition is believed to cost the NHS £14billion annually.
To gauge the impact of the illness on hospitals, the Mail analysed admission data from NHS Digital for the last ten years.
This revealed there were 1,749,025 admissions for type 2 diabetes in 2018/19, up from 1,637,565 in 2017/18 and 924,536 in 2009/10. An admission could include a planned check-up for diabetes as well as one for a complication – or an emergency admission via A&E.
After the age of 40, men catch up with women and go on to account for a higher proportion of admissions for patients aged 50 to 90.
This is probably because men are more likely to get type 2 diabetes and the illness most commonly develops in the over 50s. However, previous studies have suggested women with type 2 diabetes are more susceptible to heart disease and strokes.
The diabetics who use NHS 200 times a year
By Sophie Borland, Health Editor for the Daily Mail
Diabetes is putting a huge strain on GP surgeries with patients needing up to 200 NHS appointments a year, a top doctor has revealed.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said adults in the ‘later stages’ of the condition required daily consultations or home visits.
She said the ‘steady increase’ in the number of new cases was creating ‘significant problems’ for surgeries, which are already under intense pressure. The head of the Royal College of GPs also revealed how patients are developing symptoms 20 years earlier in life than compared to when she first qualified in the early 2000s.
Professor Stokes-Lampard, who represents 52,000 GPs in the UK, said: ‘Every person who is diagnosed is going to need several appointments with their GP, several appointments with the practice sister, education, lifestyle, then the optician, and chiropodist (foot specialist).
‘In your first year of diabetes you’ve probably got eight to ten health-related appointments, assuming everything goes to plan. Then you’re going to need monitoring for the rest of your life with blood tests, you’ll probably need medication for the rest of your life.
‘If you have complications however – a patient whose control hasn’t been good, is in the later stages, could need to be seen in the surgery daily.
‘You could have 200 appointments a year or a district nurse who is calling to your house daily. This is at the extreme end of the spectrum.’
GP surgeries are under intense strain as growing numbers of doctors are taking early retirement or cutting back on their hours, without being replaced.
This is at a time when demand for appointments is going up due to the aging population and the increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related illnesses such as diabetes.
GPs are trying to encourage overweight patients to slim down to reduce the rates of diabetes and other health conditions.
But Professor Stokes-Lampard, who practises in Lichfield, Staffordshire, said one of the hardest parts of her job was telling parents their children were too fat and needed to go on a diet.
She said: ‘If I see a very overweight parent bringing in a child who is heading to the overweight category it’s a difficult conversation to have.
‘You ask the question have you noticed they’ve gained weight since started going to school, how do you get on with healthy eating at home, you steer the conversation in different ways to work out the reaction and see what motivates them.
‘Sometimes when people really, really don’t seem to be getting the message you have to have a more direct conversation.’
Although Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to obesity, certain groups are at much higher risk including people of South Asians origin or those with a family history.
Professor Stokes-Lampard said that some patients were so ashamed of having an illness ‘of fat people’ that they refused to take any medication.
- An earlier version of this article said that 1.7million people with type 2 diabetes were admitted to hospitals last year. It has been amended to make clear that there were, in fact, 1.7 million admissions of such patients last year.
By: Sophie Borland