Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

One Way to Well Being: Diabetes Is a Growing Challenge, and Not Just for the NHS but for Our Broader Society, Too. If the Disease Is to Be Managed Successfully, Integration between the Health Care and Social Care Systems Will Be Essential, Finds Becky Slack

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

One Way to Well Being: Diabetes Is a Growing Challenge, and Not Just for the NHS but for Our Broader Society, Too. If the Disease Is to Be Managed Successfully, Integration between the Health Care and Social Care Systems Will Be Essential, Finds Becky Slack

Article excerpt

Mrs T is an elderly lady who lives with her husband in a small terraced house in the city. Fourteen years ago she was diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic ailment that develops when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to control blood glucose levels in the body. At this point in time she was able to live an independent life. However, her condition has deteriorated since then. Her mobility and heart function are worse and she is constantly breathless. The diabetes is not well managed and she takes multiple medications daily. Housebound, she relies on her husband for care.

Mrs T is not alone. She is one of three million people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes, 90 per cent of whom suffer from Type 2, the preventable version that is most common among middle-aged and older people.

Diabetes presents a major challenge to our health care system and is almost four times more prevalent than all cancers combined. Complications associated with the condition include hypoglycaemic episodes, heart conditions and amputations.

People with diabetes make up roughly 19 per cent of all hospital inpatients in Britain at any one time and their average length of stay is three days longer than for those without diabetes. Many of these inpatients are admitted from residential care homes, frequently as a result of the care staff receiving inadequate training or failing to screen individuals for the condition. Meanwhile, more than 70,000 people with diabetes use local authority services.

Besides the obvious impact the disease has on an individual's life and well-being, the care and treatment of diabetes costs money. A lot of money. About 10 per cent of the annual budget for the National Health Service ([pounds sterling]9.8bn) is dedicated to diabetes, 80 per cent of which is spent on managing long-term complications. Many of these complications, and their associated costs to the NHS and the social care system, can be prevented through the appropnate use of innovative medicines.

Compounding this is the cost of caring for people with diabetes in social care settings, which amounts to C I .45bn per annum or nearly &4rn a day (the equivalent of I 2.67 per cent of the total that local authorities spend on social care)--according to Behind Closed Doors? The Hidden Impact of Diabetes in Social Care, a new report by the Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP) and Novo Nordisk.

The report, published at the end of 2013, also found that diabetes can result in a number of additional and indirect costs to the individual and the economy, including reduced productivity, absences from work, welfare and benefit costs, early retirement and carer costs. For example, experts reckon that while death from diabetes lost the economy [pounds sterling]4.8bn in 20 I 0/2011, the 7.8 million leave days that were taken for sickness during the same period cost roughly [pounds sterling]3.8bn.

"One estimate suggests that the condition costs a total of [pounds sterling]23.7bn. However, it is likely to be much higher, as the figures do not include costs resulting from diabetes-related complications," says the author of the report and director of the IDOP Professor Alan Sinclair.

As our society ages, there is an ever greater need to understand the impact of the condition both on those older people with diabetes and on the services set up to deliver their care," he adds.

Using publicly available datasets and discussions with leading stakeholders, Professor Sinclair considered the impact of diabetes on the UK's social care system. His findings did not make for corn-fortable reading.

For one thing, despite clear best-practice management guidelines, both the planning for and delivery of these practices was found to be poor across the board--a view confirmed by a 201 2 National Audit Office report. It criticised the Department of Health for failing to deliver diabetes care to the standards requirec, which has resulted "in people with diabetes developing avoidable complications, in a high number of preventable deaths and in increased costs for the NHS". …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.