Worrying time for diabetics

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell.
Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell.

My colleague Mary Glindon was absolutely right to raise concerns over NICE plans to limit access to drugs on cost grounds.

However, there are other concerns worrying people with some long-term conditions.

There are 4.6 million people living with diabetes in the UK.

And in the next 15 years it is predicted that a further one million people are likely be diagnosed as Type 2.

Diabetes currently costs the NHS around £10bn a year.

We need a prevention programme and improved care for diabetics.

The UK does not make insulin itself, and last month the government’s own adviser warned about the impact that a ‘no deal Brexit’ would have on supply.

Transport is difficult because insulin is time and temperature sensitive.

The health secretary’s announcement that the NHS would be stockpiling drugs in the event of us crashing out of the European Union without a deal did little to reassure anyone.

And further concern has been raised by the charity Diabetes UK.

The government has announced increased funding for the NHS, which is welcome, but not enough.

It has also asked NHS England to pull together a ten-year plan.

Diabetes is not an early clinical work stream.

If it is not considered a priority, there are concerns about the future of self-management education, specialist foot care teams and specialist nurses.

As Parliament returns after the recess, I will be raising these concerns with ministers, not least because unless the government faces up to the challenge of diabetes now, I believe that the financial sustainability of the NHS will be at risk in the future.