Diabetes on the rise in Wales: New NHS guidelines published by Welsh Government
In response to the escalating diabetes crisis in Wales, the Welsh Government has issued fresh requirements for the NHS to enhance diabetes care and assist individuals in managing their condition more effectively.
Currently, 1 in 13 adults in Wales lives with diabetes, a statistic that shows an upward trend each year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the situation due to disruptions in NHS activities and cancelled appointments.
The ongoing surge in living costs, making healthy foods less accessible, threatens to compound the problem.
Notably, Wales has the highest diabetes prevalence in the UK, underscoring the immediacy of the crisis.
In 2020, an additional 10,695 individuals were diagnosed with diabetes, pushing the total number of people in Wales living with the condition over the 200,000 mark for the first time.
This represents 8% of the population aged 17 and over.
The newly released Quality Statement for Diabetes outlines key service priorities and national expectations for improving diabetes care.
It highlights the need for comprehensive supportive care, which includes participation in educational programmes, regular assistance from healthcare services, and improved access to diabetes technology.
While about 16,000 people in Wales live with non-preventable Type 1 diabetes, over 190,000 people have preventable or delayable Type 2 diabetes.
If current trends persist, the prevalence of diabetes could reach 10% of the population by 2035.
Poorly managed diabetes can lead to severe complications, including heart, eye, and kidney damage, foot problems, and even diabetic emergencies.
People with diabetes require extensive support from NHS services to manage their condition effectively.
The new approach prioritises this, especially for those at the highest risk of developing diabetes.
It also includes the introduction of new remission services for newly diagnosed individuals who might be able to reverse their condition’s progression.
The Healthy Weight Healthy Wales Strategy has set aside £1m per year for a pre-diabetes prevention programme, as part of a broader £13m investment, reflecting the Welsh Government’s commitment to tackling this health crisis.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Eluned Morgan said:
Today’s quality statement sets out how the NHS will diagnose and help people to manage their diabetes. It sets out the national priorities for service development and has a specific focus on prevention of type 2 diabetes and more broadly the prevention of the serious complications that can come with diabetes.
Diabetes also has a significant impact on our NHS. We are investing in programmes that support people to reach a healthy weight – which is the best prevention against diabetes 2. However, it is clear that we must do more to prevent cases of type 2 diabetes, which make up about 90% of new cases.
We need to make big systemic changes to create environments which encourage people to be more active. In a similar way, we need to ensure that everyone in Wales is able to access affordable heathy food. These changes reach beyond the NHS and need everyone in our society to do their part including helping to take the pressure off NHS services.
Rachel Burr, Director Diabetes UK Cymru:
Diabetes UK Cymru welcomes the new Quality Statement for Diabetes Care launched today. As a charity, we’re hopeful it will bring about tangible improvement in care for people living with diabetes across Wales.
Diabetes is relentless, it impacts every aspect of a person’s life, and the lives of those close to them. People with all types of diabetes need access to routine screening and care, psychological support, and the offer of new technologies to be able to manage their diabetes in the best way possible.
With delivery of care in Wales still recovering from the pandemic, and further challenges now as we face a cost-of-living crisis, we look forward to bold changes in governance and delivery of care, so that everyone living with and affected by diabetes has access to equitable and consistent support and care. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com