17,490 people now living with diabetes in Merthyr and RCT
The number of people with diabetes in Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf has reached an all-time high of 17,490 according to new figures released by Diabetes UK Cymru.
The new figure, extracted from official NHS data and published at the start of Diabetes Week, shows that the sharp rise in diabetes cases in recent years is continuing with 177,212, people diagnosed with the condition across Wales. If this trend carries on then in ten years it is estimated that 288,000 people in Wales will have diabetes.
Many cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented – but there is no way of preventing Type 1. With so many people now living with the condition, NHS Wales needs to prioritise giving people the education they need to manage their diabetes well.
At the moment, diabetes education is barely provided resulting in devastating health complications, including amputation, blindness and stroke. Beyond the human suffering, diabetes costs NHS Wales nearly £500 million a year, 80 per cent of which is spent on managing avoidable complications. But there is potential to save lives and money through providing people with the education needed to help them self-manage and prevent these complications from developing.
Diabetes UK Cymru is calling on NHS Wales and the Cwm Taf University Health Board to ensure people living with diabetes in the areas are provided with education and support to manage their condition on a day to day basis effectively.
Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams said: “Over the last decade we have seen the number of people with diabetes rising at an alarming rate and these latest figures are a stark call to action – we must act now or face the very real danger of diabetes devastating the lives of even more people, and threatening to wreck the already over-burdened NHS.
“We know that most people newly diagnosed with diabetes are not offered a group education course. This is despite strong evidence that giving people the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes effectively can reduce their long-term risk of complications.
“While Welsh Government made a commitment to improve access to timely structured education for people with diabetes 18 months ago, little progress has been made. Now, we need to see health boards across Wales making this a priority for their patients living with diabetes.
"Without this we will continue to deny people living with diabetes in Wales the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives."
This Diabetes Week, Diabetes UK Cymru is urging everyone with diabetes to seek out the support and education they need. Find out more atdiabetes.org.uk/diabetesweek or search #DiabetesandMe on Twitter.