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Managing Diabetes Q4 2021

Why we’re at a ‘tipping point’ moment for diabetes care

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Helen Kirrane

Head of Policy, Campaigns and Mobilisation, Diabetes UK

Every diagnosis of diabetes is life changing. The relentlessness of the condition, and the ever-present fear of serious and life-altering complications is a lifelong reality for millions of families across the UK.


Diagnoses of diabetes have doubled in the last 15 years – and currently almost 4.1 million people in the UK are diagnosed with some form of the condition. In addition, we estimate that a further 850,000 are living with type 2 diabetes but are yet to be diagnosed, while 13.6 million are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Why action is needed now

Worryingly, new analysis by Diabetes UK has highlighted how this trend of rising diagnoses is very much on course to continue – unless urgent action is taken. 

Our latest projections are based on analysis of Public Health England and The Association of Public Health Observatories’ diabetes prevalence projection models. They reveal that up to 5.5 million adults in the UK – nearly 10% of the projected adult population – will be living with diabetes by 2030, if further action is not taken. 

We estimate that a further 850,000 are living with type 2 diabetes but are yet to be diagnosed, while 13.6 million are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Our message is simple: unless the UK Government commits to urgently and sustainably investing in diabetes care and prevention, the country is on course to reach a diabetes tipping point, with devasting human consequences. 

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What can be done? 

We are calling on the UK Government to: 

  • Make more funding available to enable more people to avoid a diagnosis of type 2 through increasing access to proven preventative measures such as the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
  • Significantly expand access to interventions to help people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes go into remission where possible, such as low-calorie weight-management programmes and bariatric surgery.
  • Urgently address post-pandemic backlogs, to ensure swift recovery of diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and that people with all types of diabetes have access to the individualised care and treatment they need, to minimise their risk of diabetes complications.

We don’t want our prediction to become a reality and it doesn’t have to become one. What we need to see is the will, grit and determination from government to halt this crisis in its tracks and improve the future health of our nation for generations to come.

For further information on our Diabetes Is Serious campaign visit: diabetes.org.uk

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