Thousands of type II diabetes sufferers go undiagnosed

Thousands of people who live in the UK are suffering in silence from type II diabetes after they did not get diagnosed last year following flaws in the implementation of an NHS Health Check programme, claim Diabetes UK in a new report.

Around 9,500 people could have had a diagnosis in 2011/12, however as the programme was not effective only 40% of those who could have benefitted from the health MOT (so-called) actually had one, claim the charity. As early diagnosis and treatment of the condition are crucial to cut the risk of related complications, this could have serious implications. Complications with the disease include amputation of limbs, blindness, kidney failure and stroke.

Back in 2009 the NHS Health Check was launched to much fanfare, it was claimed that through screening the over 40 age group for risk of conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke, 650 lives per year could be saved and 1,600 heart attacks prevented. However the new ‘Let’s get it right’ report claims that the service, far from being offered to all in the target group, has become a lottery postcode.

If we look at the extremes thousands of residents in Greenwich and Liverpool received one of the health checks within a 12-month period, whereas in Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Western Cheshire no one received one.

It is estimated that in the UK 850,000 people are unaware they have type II diabetes. An enormous 7 million people are high risk when it comes to developing this disease, with an estimated 4 million forecast to have it by 2015. This illustrates the urgent need for preventative strategies to be put in place.