Foreword by Dr Rosemary Leonard, media medic and GP
I’m sure many of you saw the news coverage of a new analysis done by Diabetes UK highlighting that the number of people living with type 1 and 2 diabetes has soared by 59.8% in a decade.
Recent data showing a decline in sport and physical activity and our ever increasing appetite for fatty and sugary diets means that this should come as no surprise. Expanding British waistlines are driving type 2 diabetes, and as a GP I’m acutely aware of the impact that managing and treating diabetes has not just on the individual but the NHS.
This is only part of the picture. Much of the pressure on primary care arises from the management of preventable diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart attack and strokes. This is why I’m a strong advocate for the NHS Health Check programme.
England’s commitment to preventing disease through this programme is world leading. It is clear that the hard work of commissioners, providers and the NHS has contributed to the significant progress that has been made since 2009. What’s more this month we’ve seen over three million people have a check in the last two years, fantastic news. The Health Check has also played a significant role in diagnosing ‘new’ diabetics. This is vital, as the earlier a diagnosis is made and treatment is started, the greater the chance of a person avoiding long-term complications.
By tackling the top seven risk factors the programme offers such huge potential to impact on the epidemic of non-communicable disease. So we need to make sure that as many people as possible are having a high quality check. This is no easy task, but together I’m sure that this is something the NHS and local authorities can achieve.