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August 2019

NHS could save millions by meeting diabetes treatment targets

Meeting treatment targets could lead to significant savings for the NHS, and help people with type 2 diabetes live longer, healthier lives, a study supported by Diabetes UK has found.

The results suggest that the NHS could save up to £727 million over 10 years if everyone with type 2 diabetes over the age of 20 in England and Wales met three treatment targets for blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Currently less than 40% of the 3.09 million people with type 2 diabetes in England and Wales achieve all three targets.

The research, from the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, found that meeting all three treatment targets could reduce the cost of treating complications by £1037 per patient over 10 years – but the savings do not factor in the potential costs of getting patients to target.

Nikki Joule, Policy Manager at Diabetes UK, said: ‘This research shows just how much could be saved if all people with type 2 diabetes over the age of 20 were helped to meet all of their NICE-defined treatment targets. Currently, fewer than 2 in 5 meet all three, and this needs to change.’

Study author Professor Borislava Mihaylova, said: ‘Our study shows that if the 10% lowest performing GP practices (with about a quarter of their patients meeting the targets) were to reach the target levels achieved by the top 10% performing GP practices (with about half of patients meeting the targets), they would realise an average gain of 30 years of life for every 100 patients or 3.6 months per patient. These benefits would more than double if they could get all their patients to meet all three treatment targets.’

Keng MJ, et al. Diabetes Obes Metab 2019;1-8 DOI:10.1111/dom.13821