Diabetes is a leading cause of premature mortality, doubling an individual's risk of cardiovascular disease. With over 22,000 additional deaths each year, it costs over £10 billion every year to manage. It is right, therefore, that diabetes features prominently in the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP).
While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes. That is why prevention is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan. One of the key commitments in the LTP is to double, to 200,000 people per year by 2024, the scale of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which supports those identified as high risk of type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk.
To date NHS England has invested approximately £120 million of transformation funding into local services to target variation and improve performance in the treatment and care of people living with diabetes since 2017/18. This is focused on improving attendance at structured education to increase understanding, improving achievement of NICE targets and reducing variation across the country, reducing amputations through improved provision of multidisciplinary footcare teams, improving timelines of referrals from primary care for patients with diabetic food disease, and reducing lengths of stay for diabetic inpatients through specialist nursing services.
I absolutely agree that technology could, and should, provide vital support to people managing diabetes and I know that new treatments and technologies are being created all the time. I welcome the DHSC Research and Development Budget for 2021 of £1.3 billion, which underlines the commitment to ensure that the best possible treatments and technologies are available through the NHS at the earliest opportunity.
I hope this reassures you about the commitment to tackling diabetes as well as supporting those living with it to lead healthier lives.