71% of healthcare professionals believe the NHS can only financially cope with Type 2 diabetes for 10 years at most

Research from Liva Healthcare, the digital health platform, has examined the challenges facing healthcare professionals in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

The research highlights 6 in 10 (59%) healthcare professionals say Type 2 diabetes takes up more of their time than dementia (13%), obesity (6%) and heart disease (3%) put together.

Healthcare professionals are concerned that the current level of expenditure on Type 2 diabetes is unsustainable, the research suggests.

Currently the NHS spends around 9% of its budget (£8.8 billion) a year on Type 2 diabetes, with one in six of all people in hospital having the condition. 71% of the healthcare professionals surveyed believe the NHS can only continue to manage the current level of Type 2 diabetes care for another 10 years at most – with only 1% suggesting that we can carry on spending at this level for longer.

The research found a strong preference from healthcare professionals to help Type 2 diabetics treat their condition by losing weight and getting fit (54%), rather than prescribe medication (3%). 44% believe lifestyle changes have the potential to be as effective as medication.

Dr Roger Henderson, GP and UK medical director at Liva Healthcare comments “Doctors are working flat out to help those with Type 2 diabetes. As the research demonstrates, healthcare professionals fear it is only a matter of time before funds will run out altogether. Yet it has been proven that with early intervention and lifestyle changes, many cases of pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes can be reversed.”

“The majority of healthcare professionals and Type 2 diabetics are showing a clear desire to move away from just using medication to treat the disease. We therefore need innovative ways to support general practice and provide significant time and financial benefits for the NHS. Matt Hancock has already laid out a vision for the NHS to embrace technological change which we fully support. This gap in service provision urgently needs to be bridged before the NHS is financially broken by this growing health crisis.” 

Dr Aseem Malhotra, NHS Consultant Cardiologist and Professor of Evidence Based Medicine added “The current management of patients with Type 2 diabetes is upside down. Costly drugs to manage blood glucose don’t address the root cause of the condition. In addition, Type 2 diabetes medication comes with potential side effects that hinder a patient’s quality of life, increases hospital admissions and doesn’t prolong a patient’s lifespan. The good news is that, with my patients, I have found that the condition is reversible in up to 60% of patients. The best results come within a year of pure dietary changes that specifically cut out added sugar and processed carbohydrate foods. Supporting front line clinicians with technology that gives patients a lifestyle prescription to manage the condition will not only save hundreds of millions of NHS money, but will also improve patients’ quality of life; something which a drug centric approach cannot do.”