MORE than £3 million is spent on diabetes prescriptions in St Helens every year.
New figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed that 8.6 per cent of the cost of all prescriptions in the town accounts for drugs related to patients who have diabetes.
Every year, 174,866 prescriptions are handed out to St Helens patients with diabetes, costing £3,379,640 annually.
NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group says it works with its member practices to ensure patients with long terms conditions, of which diabetes is one, are managed as effectively as possible.
Margaret Geoghegan, assistant director of medicines management for the CCG and Pharmacist, said: “Our member GP practices and Medicines Management team work hard to ensure each patient in St Helens diagnosed with diabetes has their condition managed as effectively as possible.”
The figures were released just days before it was revealed that the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes has risen by nearly 60 per cent in the last decade, according to Diabetes Uk.
The new figures, extracted from official NHS data, show that there are now 3,333,069 people diagnosed with diabetes, which is an increase of more than 1.2 million adults compared with ten years ago.
The national diabetes charity is warning that the growth in numbers reflects an urgent need for effective care for people living with the condition, as well as highlighting the importance of prevention and that failure to act on this threatens to bring down the NHS.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Over the past decade, the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has increased by more than one million people, which is the equivalent of the population of a small country such as Cyprus.
“With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste – the government must act now.
“The NHS must prioritise providing better care, along with improved and more flexible education options, for people with diabetes now, and give them the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives.
“Until then, avoidable human suffering will continue and the costs of treating diabetes will continue to spiral out of control and threaten to bankrupt the NHS. Now is the time for action.”