A marathon month – by Barbara Young
Lots of excitement these past few weeks. We have published, with JDRF and Sanofi in Diabetic Medicine, a report on the costs of diabetes which shows that they are now 10% of the NHS budget and growing, £9.7 billion which is a lot of billions. The future growth threatens to wreck the NHS budget. But the most shocking statistic is that 80% of those billions are spent on dealing with serious complications like amputation, blindness, stroke and kidney failure. All of these can be reduced or avoided with early diagnosis, access for all people with diabetes to excellent education and support to help them manage their condition, and ensuring everyone with diabetes gets the recommended 15 essential healthcare measures.
Seems a no-brainer to me, that the money could be better spent upfront by helping to avoid complications, rather than being on the treadmill of having to spend once complications have arisen. Especially since the complications are so potentially serious for people with diabetes and their families, not just for the NHS budget. We continue to campaign to get this message heard, with much roller skating round the corridors of power. Watch this space and join in locally as a Diabetes Voice.
The London Marathon was a great place to get a taste of our new brand, with shedloads of runners in the tasteful new Diabetes UK blue running vests taking part – I spent all the time spotting them from the safety of my chair and shouting “YES!” Thanks to all who ran and for the £250,000 you are raising. I hope you recover to do some more runs for us this year as part of our Bupa Great Runs partnership.
Everyone who was anyone in diabetes in Europe was in Copenhagen last week to plot how to produce a roadmap for tackling diabetes across Europe. Great networking opportunity in the conference hall, the buses to and from the venue and – surely not! – the bar. Though I must admit that every time I was plotting something, I discovered that our diabetes minister, Paul Burstow, was standing behind me.
Kofi Annan jetted in from Syrian negotiations to add his weight to diabetes being a vital issue for the whole world, developed or developing, and to confirm that the rising tide of diabetes and lack of sufficient action to tackle the crisis is as important as geopolitical meltdown in the Middle East!
We have launched our new membership offer to make sure that everyone gets the opportunity to benefit from the services and support we can provide. Joining Diabetes UK and telling us a little about yourself means we can offer you a more appropriate and targeted range of information and services, and that we can update that as new information comes along. But it also means you join a community of over 300,000 supporters – whose voices together are stronger than any one person’s – in ensuring we safeguard and improve services for people with diabetes locally and nationally. If you haven’t yet joined, go to our membership page and make your voice count.
I’m off now to lie down for five seconds to prepare for an even more hectic May…