Diabetes (and mental health)

Please allow me to assure you that ensuring the best possible care for all people with diabetes is available to patients as well as tackling the causes of diabetes as far as possible remain key priorities for the Government.

Diabetes is a leading cause of premature mortality. With over 22,000 additional deaths each year, it doubles an individual's risk of cardiovascular disease and costs over £10 billion every year to manage.

Prevention is crucial to tackling type 2 diabetes, so I'm delighted that prevention is at the heart of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP), launched earlier this year. One of the key commitments in the LTP is to double, to 200,000 people per year, the scale of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which supports those identified as high risk of type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk.

Further, medical research has shown that some people with type 2 diabetes can achieve remission through adoption of low calorie diets and is a non-invasive treatment allowing people with type 2 diabetes to tackle their diabetes as part of leading healthier lives. I warmly welcome the inclusion in the LTP pioneering plans to test an NHS programme of low calorie diets for overweight people with type 2 diabetes.

There is also more work to be done to improve the treatment and care of those diagnosed with diabetes and I welcome that £44 million of transformation funding is being invested to achieve this. So far over £11 million of this funding has been spent on increasing the uptake of structured education courses, which will help those with diabetes to better self-manage their condition. Almost £10 million has been invested to provide better access for diabetics to foot care teams, in order to reduce the number of amputations necessary.

I understand that managing Diabetes can be difficult and isolating at times, and I know that Diabetes UK worked with NHS England to produce "The Future of Diabetes" report in December last year. It emerged from this that there are a number of ways the NHS can make it easier to live with diabetes, one of which is providing more support for emotional and physical health. As a result, the NHS Diabetes Programme team is working with the NHS mental health team to explore best practice in mental health support for those with diabetes to ensure uniform access to appropriate support services across England.

Unfortunately I am unable to attend the reception on 14th May as I have been selected by the Speaker to attend a delegated Legislation committee in Parliament, but I will continue to monitor the issue closely.
 
I hope this reassures you that the Government is committed to tackling diabetes as well as supporting those living with it to lead healthier lives.