Covid has caused ‘diabetes timebomb’: Almost 2.5million patients missed out on vital checks during pandemic, charity warns
- Diabetes UK found GPs performed 41 per cent fewer checks than pre-pandemic
- The backlog has put millions at greater risk of complications including sight loss
- Some 4.9million people in the UK have diabetes – and nine in ten have type 2
Britain faces a ‘diabetes timebomb’ after nearly 2.5million sufferers missed out on vital checks due to Covid-19, a charity warned yesterday.
Diabetes UK found GPs performed 41 per cent fewer health checks last year than before the pandemic.
The backlog has put millions at greater risk of complications including sight loss, heart disease, strokes, kidney disease and amputation.
Diabetes UK found GPs performed 41 per cent fewer health checks last year than before the pandemic (stock image)
Some 4.9million people in the UK have diabetes. Nine in ten have type 2, which is linked to obesity, while type 1 is an unpreventable auto-immune disease that often develops in childhood.
Cases have trebled in the past 25 years due to rising obesity and around 5,000 hospital admissions a day are linked to diabetes.
Most patients manage the condition themselves at home, but they need check-ups to ensure they don’t develop complications.
Diabetes UK found that checks for people with type 1 fell by 37.5 per cent last year, or 201,000, while for those with type 2 they went down by 40.8 per cent, or 2.25million.
In addition, 60,000 missed out on a type 2 diagnosis between March and December.
Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew said: ‘We’re sitting on a diabetes timebomb. Missed appointments and missed or delayed diagnoses can devastate lives.’
Cases have trebled in the past 25 years due to rising obesity and around 5,000 hospital admissions a day are linked to diabetes (stock image)
A survey by the charity found that one in three have not had any contact with their diabetes team since the start of the pandemic. One third also said they have had consultations cancelled that have still not taken place.
Mr Askew added: ‘To meet this crisis head-on, government must make diabetes a priority and invest properly in fighting it.
‘If we get this right, it could transform the landscape for healthcare now and for generations to come – and help millions more people live well.
‘Healthcare professionals are working incredibly hard to clear the backlog of missed and cancelled routine health checks, consultations and referrals and we are extremely grateful to them. But they are working with limited resources… It’s time for government to act, now.’
People with diabetes have been one of the groups most affected by coronavirus, accounting for one in three deaths in England during the first wave of the pandemic.