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£1m an hour spent treating diabetes

The NHS spends about £1 million an hour treating diabetes and its complications, a new report claims.

Hospitals and primary care trusts spend up to 10% of the NHS budget – or £9 billion – each year dealing with repercussions from the disease such as blindness, kidney failure, stroke, heart disease and limb amputation.

The figures were drawn up by the charity Diabetes UK using data from the Department of Health and NHS spend in 2007/08.

One in 10 people in UK hospitals have diabetes and 60% of hospital inpatients with diabetes have been admitted as emergencies.

There are currently two million people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the UK, which is linked to lifestyle factors like obesity, while a further 500,000 are thought to be undiagnosed.

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About 250,000 people in the UK also have type 1 diabetes, which often develops in childhood.

The report – called Silent Assassin – highlights how the problem is set to get worse, saying: “It is estimated that by 2025 there will be more than four million people with diabetes in the UK.

More than one in 10 (11.6%) of all deaths among 20 to 79-year-olds in England can be attributed to diabetes, the report went on. By 2010, this figure is set to rise to one in eight (12.2%).

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Diabetes UK