East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has called for full delivery of an agreed Diabetes Strategy after a major report stated a clear opportunity to improve care for those living with the condition was missed.
The Northern Ireland Audit Office Report said while a review of diabetes care in 2003 outlined best practice towards those with Type 2 diabetes, limited implementation and a lack of a comprehensive strategy from the Department of Health until 2016, meant a lack of value for money for services relating to it.
A statement from Diabetes UK said: “There is an urgent need for action to reduce the Type 2 diabetes tsunami with ten new diagnosis being made here every day. This report is an important mapping of some of the failure that needs to be avoided in the future and a call for actions in the Diabetes Strategic Framework of 2016 to be implemented on a regional basis.
“Diabetes UK know that if the substantial human and financial cost burden of Type 2 diabetes is to be minimised, effective strategies to reduce incidence and complications for people already living with the condition are now required.”
Mr Dickson, who is Chair of the Assembly All-Party Group on Diabetes, said: "More action needs to be taken to help those with diabetes."
"The expectation is 100,000 people in Northern Ireland are expected to have diabetes by 2020. Type 2 diabetes accounts for almost 90 per cent of cases here. We need to ensure those suffering from it have ready access to locally-based treatment, and whatever support they need.
"As well as a human cost, there is a financial cost to diabetes. Local treatment costs are estimated at £400 million annually, but that is also estimated to rise by 17 per cent by 2035. That is 10 per cent of the entire local health and social care budget. In these times of financial constraints, £400 million a year, a cost which is growing, is proving a huge strain on the budget.
"We need a restored Executive to deal with pressing issues such as delivery of the Diabetes Strategic Framework, first published two years ago. While a strategy itself does not guarantee successful implementation, as the Audit Office Report states, it will provide an opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the number of serious cases."
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