Diabetes Care: July 2022

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about support and treatment for people with diabetes. I am sorry that it has not been possible for me to respond before now.

Diabetes is a leading cause of premature mortality, doubling an individual's risk of cardiovascular disease. With over 22,000 additional deaths each year, it costs over £10 billion every year to manage. That is why I believe it is important that high quality diabetes care is available.

In terms of a covid recovery plan, NHS England has invested approximately £120 million of funding into local services to improve performance in the treatment and care of people living with diabetes since 2017/18. This is focused on improving attendance at structured education to increase understanding, improving achievement of NICE targets, reducing amputations through improved provision of multidisciplinary footcare teams, improving timelines of referrals from primary care for patients with diabetic foot disease, and reducing lengths of stay for diabetic inpatients through specialist nursing services.

I agree that it is important that people with diabetes can access the routine care and support that they need, and am glad that the Government is committed to supporting the NHS to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. An additional £23.3 billion has been announced to support the NHS in managing the ongoing impact of the pandemic. I understand that the Government is also analysing the impact of the pandemic on health conditions like diabetes, to inform how to recover the provision of routine care. I await the findings of this with interest.

I believe that education plays a key part in the prevention and management of diabetes. Obesity, for instance, is the single greatest factor in developing type 2 diabetes. I am therefore encouraged that the basic principles of healthy eating are taught in schools from Key Stage 1. I also welcomed the launch of the Better Health adult obesity campaign in 2020. This highlighted the harms of excess weight and helped to provide the motivation for individuals to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

The latest Better Health campaign, launched earlier this year, focuses on six key benefits associated with a healthier weight which includes a reduced risk of developing diabetes. A range of free support and guidance has also been made available alongside the campaign to help individuals lose weight and eat more healthily.  

While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes. That is why I am delighted that prevention is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP). One of the key commitments in the LTP is to double, to 200,000 people per year by 2024, the scale of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which supports those identified as high risk of type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk - NHS England » NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP)

Technology could, and should, provide vital support to people managing diabetes and I know that new treatments and technologies are being created all the time. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are responsible for commissioning diabetes services for their local populations. This includes prescribing technologies for people living with diabetes, for example glucose monitoring devices. Following a successful two-year pilot programme that saw a significant increase in the adoption of flash glucose technology across all clinical commissioning groups, I am encouraged to see that over 35 per cent of patients living with type 1 diabetes are now benefitting from flash glucose monitoring. Commissioning decisions for the adoption of technology products in diabetes are always guided by clinical and cost effective assessments, delivered by NICE and other regulatory bodies. 

Thank you for getting in touch.

Sincerely,

Richard Fuller