BBC Radio Wales and the All Wales NHS Diabetes Spending Report

Yesterday morning I was invited onto BBC Radio Wales to talk about a new report that has been published on the NHS in Wales’ spending on diabetes care. The outline of the report suggests that spending on diabetes in Welsh hospitals has risen by 4% in the last year and that the total expenditure on Wales on diabetes care is £500m out of a total budget of £6bn. The number of deaths in Wales in relation to diabetes complications has fallen since 2009, as have emergency admissions between 2010 and 2013. But the report still estimates that there are a staggering 66,000 people undiagnosed with diabetes in Wales, which may be closely linked to Wales’ growing issue of obesity. Surprisingly the report also estimates that 60% of adults with type 1 diabetes and 33% of adults with type 2 are still not receiving their annual checks.

Dr Andrew Goodall, Chief Executive of NHS Wales, said:

“This will need to be a joint effort between the service in NHS Wales and the public. Obesity is the top risk factor for type 2 diabetes at all ages and 58% of all adults in Wales in 2013 are overweight or obese. This will need many of us to change our lifestyles if we are to tackle diabetes effectively in the future.”

I was on BBC Radio Wales’ ‘Good Morning Wales’ program presented by Mai Davies along with fellow guest Elaine who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 years ago this month (in fact it’s her diaversary- diabetes anniversary, this month). I was grateful that Mai’s first question was to ask me to explain the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which is really important because when you consider the fact that 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 and 10% type 1, obviously not all of the expenditure can be attributed to type 1. But whilst I was outlining the key differences between both types of the condition, I was also mindful not to stereotype type 2 with being all down to obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise because not every case is.

Elaine and I both talked about our experiences of when we were diagnosed, and as I was talking about mine it made me realise another reason why the cost of diabetes for the NHS has increased. My path of treatment has been starting out on two injections/ day and 4 blood tests when I was diagnosed at 13. Between the ages of about 15 and 18 I went onto four injections per day but the blood tests started increasing because I got into athletics. At 19 I was on anything up to 10 injections a day because I was becoming resistant to insulin, I was doing countless blood tests so I would know how much insulin to take for each injection which led me towards going onto an insulin pump. Which although may be initially a more expensive outlay and treatment option for type 1 diabetes treatment. However better control, which the pump has given me, can mean fewer hospital admissions, increased quality of life and more freedom to manage my condition alongside my lifestyle.

As Dr Goodall suggested in his interview too, the growing rate of obesity and the relation of this to diabetes diagnosis will mean that expenditure will increase, because more people are being treated and diagnosed than ever before. Also as far as type 2 is concerned, I believe that there are now more places to actually be tested for the condition from the pharmacy at your local supermarket, to the one on the high street which will lead to more awareness and more diagnosis. Which can only be a good thing as this reduces complications which are what can lead to diabetes related complications and deaths. However, I also did my best to try and convey the fact that diabetes is a serious illness, but for the most part it is one you can manage and live with.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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