Diabetes now affects four million in Britain and poor care is leading to early deaths

For the first time the number of people living with diabetes in Britain has topped four million, according to figures extracted from GP patient data and released by Diabetes UK.

There are now 4.05 million people with the condition in the UK, an increase of 120,000 year-on-year. The numbers also reveal an increase of 65 per cent over the past decade, as well as 549,000 potential undiagnosed cases of type-2 diabetes.

Diabetes UK says that until adequate care and education is provided in Britain, ‘large numbers of people will end up experiencing potentially preventable diabetes-related complications such as blindness, kidney failure and amputation’.

The charity says that currently over 24,000 people a year die prematurely because of diabetes. They attribute this to poor hospital care and a lack of knowledge about the condition.

Chris Askew, the chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: ‘With four million people in Britain now living with diabetes, the need to tackle this serious health condition has never been so stark or so urgent.

‘It is vital that we start to see people with diabetes receive good quality care wherever they live rather than them being at the mercy of a postcode lottery. Equally, diabetes education needs to be readily available everywhere, and commissioned along with a proper local system that explains to people with diabetes the benefits they will gain from attending an education course, and ensures that courses are well run.

‘With a record number of people living with diabetes, there is no time to waste in getting serious about providing better care and diabetes education. Until this happens, the rising number of people with diabetes will continue to be denied the best chance of living long and healthy lives and the NHS will continue to be crippled under avoidable but escalating costs of treating poorly managed diabetes.’