Mr Stevens outlined three areas NHS England are prioritising in terms of their approach to diabetes:
1. Obesity: It is estimated that 85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is rapidly on the rise. This is due to a number of different factors, including an aging population, but much of this rise can be attributed to the increase in obesity. Mr Stevens noted that if we want to be serious about tackling the rise in Type 2 diabetes, we must do more to address obesity. In order to do so, we need both the industry and the Government to step up.
2. Prevention: According to the latest data, 5 million people in England have blood sugar levels indicating they are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Mr Stevens talked about the progress NHS England is making in the roll out of its National Diabetes Prevention Programme, which will offer tens of thousands of people at risk of Type 2 diabetes proper support to get healthier, eat better and exercise more. England will be the first country to implement a national evidence-based diabetes prevention programme at scale, delivering on the commitment set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.
3. Care: Mr Stevens acknowledged that much more needs to be done to improve diabetes care and services for all people living with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The NHS spends nearly £10 billion on diabetes every year – 80 per cent of which is spent on treating complications that could be largely avoided through better care. Mr Stevens recognised that the NHS must do more to reduce variation in care across the country, improve foot care services to reduce the rate of diabetes related amputations occurring, and ensuring that people living with diabetes have the tools they need to self-manage their condition.
The Q&A session was an opportunity for the Group’s members to find out more about NHS England’s plans to address diabetes and to raise other pertinent topics such as access to technology like insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring and issues around transitioning from child to adult diabetes services.
The APPG looks forward to continuing to engage with Simon Stevens and NHS England as it implements the Five Year Forward View and the National Diabetes Prevention Programme.