How do we keep the cost of medicines down?

Treating diabetes swallowed up over £800m from the national NHS budget last year. It’s a significant number that is, unfortunately, likely to rise again before it falls.

In our area more people have diabetes than the national average; 6.4% of people in North East Lincolnshire are diagnosed, costing us 10% of our annual budget. So many people in the area are affected by it, but do you know what it is?

Diabetes is a long-term condition where the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. There are two types; type 1 and type 2. Without going into the medical details of the condition all you really need to know is around 10% of people have type 1, while more and more people are being diagnosed with type 2. But 80% of type 2 diabetes cases could be avoided, or delayed through early detection.

The NHS needs to bring the amount of money it spends on treating diabetes down. One of the best ways to do this is to educate and support people to make simple lifestyle changes, so they can manage their condition better, and prevent people from developing diabetes in the first place.

We’ve teamed up with Care Plus Group and North East Lincolnshire Council to develop a pre-diabetes education and awareness programme that has been funded by the Health and Wellbeing Board. With the support of the pre-diabetes collaborative, members of the community are visiting local groups and employers to ask people a few questions about their lifestyle, family history and measure their waistlines.

Since the programme launched two months ago, 38% of people taking the pre-diabetes risk assessment were found to be in the moderate to high risk category. More recently, 16 people out of 31 were advised to go and speak to their nurse at an assessment session in Cleethorpes. There is help and advice available for people that want to improve their heath and ultimately do their bit at keeping the cost of unnecessary medication down.

If you’re interested in finding out if you are at risk of diabetes, why not come along to one of the monthly ‘time to measure up’ group meetings on the second Tuesday of every month at Centre4, Wootten Road, Grimsby from 5pm. Local business can also request pre-diabetes risk assessments in their workplace too just contact Rachael Ogley on 01472 232266 to book a place.

In September we’ll be introducing pre-diabetes sessions at my surgery too (The Roxton Practice in Immingham). This could be the start of big changes which could see us bringing the cost of diabetes medication down.

Dr Arun Nayyar
Clinical Lead for Planned Care and GP at The Roxton Practice

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