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A Resized Diabetes Image cbAugust 3 2017

Prescribing for diabetes medicines in England increased 80.1% over the past decade, when overall prescribing item numbers increased only 46.0%. In the past year, total diabetes prescription items grew at 4.7% compared to total prescription item growth of 2.0%

The figures come in a new report from NHS Digital, ‘Prescribing for Diabetes: England 2006/07 to 2016/17’. Some “52.0 million items were prescribed for diabetes in 2016-17, up from 49.7 million in 2015-16, and 28.9 million in 2006-07,” it said.

Based on available data, primary care prescribing for diabetes has increased 40.0% between 2009-10 and 2016-17, whereas recorded diabetes prevalence only increased 22%. Metformin prescribing rose 51.1%.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP Chair, commented: “A rise in prescriptions can indicate both better identification of diabetes at an earlier stage and more comprehensive treatment according to latest guidelines, but it is clear from these figures that more people are living with both type 1 and 2 diabetes long term - and this poses major challenges for the NHS.”

It was important that all patients with diabetes to be given the most appropriate treatments for them, regardless of the cost, and GPs “need to really push the prevention agenda,” she said. Referring to the “positive strides” being made by the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, she said it was encouraging to see this is being rolled out further.

Links:
NHS Digital announcement         
NHS analysis        
RCGP comment                

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