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Diabetes "time bomb" could be defused by 2030

A new report, published today by The School of Pharmacy, University of London, finds that the diabetes "time bomb" presently threatening to cut life expectancy in Britain could be defused by 2030.

Extending the role of pharmacists in finding people at risk of diabetes and delivering better prevention and treatment could play a key part in enabling a "diabetes tipping point" to be reached.
The number of diagnosed cases of diabetes in the UK has doubled in the past 10 years. There are now a total of 3 million people in Britain living with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes.
Worldwide there are approaching 200 million cases of diabetes. This figure is currently set to rise to 400 million by 2030. Present projections indicate that by then there will be 5 million Britons with diabetes. However, Living with Plenty - Meeting the Challenge of Diabetes says that diabetes rates in this country could in fact be falling by 2030, if sufficient investment is made in effective public health interventions and discovering and using better medicines.

Report author Professor David Taylor commented today: "If we can use the resources we already have - like community pharmacies and existing medicines - better, and are prepared to go on investing in pharmaceutical research and effective public health programmes, we could reach a tipping point by or before 2030. The challenge of diabetes can be met."
The scientific innovations and healthcare improvements explored in Living with Plenty - Meeting the Challenge of Diabetes range from those available now to those which will
take to the 2030s to develop. They include: 

  • Establishing community pharmacies as "public health centres" where people can access free NHS (or affordable private) health checks and a wide range of preventive services and effective treatments.
  • The provision of more group therapeutic learning and self-care confidence building courses for people with diabetes. 
  • Evidence-based public health programmes.
  • Extending access to bariatric surgery for people who are grossly obese.  
  • Innovative non-insulin medicines. 
  • Greater use of insulin pumps and "artificial pancreases".  
  • New forms of insulin treatment.  
  • Stem cell and other fundamental science based developments.

With regard to NHS patient access to new medicines and other health technologies, the School of Pharmacy report recognises the importance of the work of agencies such as NICE. But it warns that delaying or restricting patient access to improved treatments can have unwanted side effects, both for the individuals who miss out on better health outcomes and the wider community.

The School of Pharmacy, University of London

Do you think the diabetes "time bomb" could be defused by 2030? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Thought-provoking article, but photograph showing finger pad sample of blood is not sending right message. We do advise side of nail at site as not only is this less painful, but as we use finger pads for touch and sensory function, multiple testing  ompromises comfort. Finger pad also needs to be preserved if people using or considering braille and again, if blindness a risk, it would be all the more important not to reduce senses upon which an individual may become more reliant. I hope this feedback is useful." - Wendy McMahon, Diabetes Specialist Nurse

"This can be done in the US as well as the UK IF we utilize all members of the healthcare team, nurses, dietitians, physicians and pharmacists working together on the same page and not worry so much about "turf battles". Pharmacies are a great resource as much for their availablity a their knowledge of diabetes. In the US we are working to establish another level of advanced training for pharmacists to better equip them to motivational interviewing and coaching as well as covey knowledge of diabetes. This would work to reinforce the work of nurses and physicians alike." - Jerry Meece, RPH, FACA, CDE, Plaza Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Gainesville, Texas, USA