Revealed: In some hospitals, every fourth bed of diabetics faces an epidemic that costs the NHS £ 14 billion every year
- The numbers were created by NHS Digital and show the effects of diabetes
- Experts believe that the diabetes epidemic is the "biggest health crisis of our time"
- About 90 percent of patients have type 2 diabetes associated with obesity
- Diabetics spend longer in the hospital as they recover more slowly from illness
In some hospitals, more than a quarter of the beds are occupied by patients with diabetes, as shocking NHS figures show.
At a large hospital distribution in Manchester, nearly one third of the patients on the ward had the condition. A London hospital said that 27 percent of beds were occupied by diabetic patients.
Five other trusts across England said patients with the disease accounted for at least a quarter of the beds at the same time.
Hospitals are under pressure due to the number of diabetics in the system. In some units it is stated that a quarter of the beds are used to treat the disease
Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to obesity and costs the NHS £ 14 billion a year
The figures from NHS Digital prove the impact that diabetes – which costs taxpayers 14 billion pounds a year – on the creaking health service. Experts say it is the "biggest health crisis of our time". There are an estimated 4 million cases in the UK, almost twice as many as 20 years ago.
Of these, 90 percent have type 2 diabetes, which is related to obesity. It is believed that another million people live with the disease, but they do not know they have it.
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said the numbers are "really shocking" and should serve as a wake-up call.
Diabetics tend to stay in hospital longer than others because their recovery time is slower and they are more susceptible to infection. Mr. Fry said, "People need to remember that 90 percent of those diabetics have suffered from the disease through obesity.
"It should be enough to encourage everyone to really eat healthy, and as a strong reminder that the government needs to provide enough support to help people achieve a healthy lifestyle."
Emily Watts, Diabetes UK's in-patient program manager, said, "Every year, more than one million people with diabetes spend time in the hospital, and many – whatever the reason for their time in the hospital – will have a problem with their diabetes treatment.
"The result is longer hospital stays and patients are worried that their health may be at risk.
"The NHS is immensely burdened … but the number of in-patient diabetes patients is a clear sign that more needs to be done to make hospitals safe for those living with the disease."
Nationwide, about 18 percent of hospital beds are occupied by diabetes patients at the same time. This has risen by 15 percent since 2011, although the number in certain hotspots in the country is much higher.
The numbers from NHS Digital come from a snapshot of hospitals on four days in September 2017.
While some diabetic patients may have been admitted due to complications caused by the disease, others were for unrelated reasons in the meantime.
Complications can be severe and include kidney disease, liver disease, strokes, heart attacks, blindness and nerve damage to the feet, resulting in amputations.
The highest prevalence was noted by Manchester University Hospitals, where 29 percent of beds were occupied by patients with diabetes.
In the Hillingdon Hospitals in West London, it was 27 percent, in the City Hospital in Birmingham 26 percent and in the Ealing Hospital in West London just over 25 percent.
Bedford Hospital and West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven, Cumbria, reported rates of exactly 25 percent.
There is growing evidence that diabetes can be reversed when patients lose significant amounts of weight. The NHS is conducting a pilot project that will provide patients with soups and shakes for a total of 850 calories per day for five months. If successful, the regime will be expanded nationwide.
Comment – page 20