New figures released by Diabetes UK show that an estimated 4.7 million people are living with diabetes in the UK.
In Salford just under 14,000 people are currently diagnosed with diabetes, of which an estimated 90 per cent is Type 2 Diabetes.
The NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group expects this to have risen again when new data is released later this year.
— Diabetes UK (@DiabetesUK) 26 February 2019
And a further 15,000 people living in Salford are at risk of developing diabetes, including an estimated 2,000 people who have type 2 diabetes but do not know it.
The Green Party general election candidate for Salford and Eccles Bryan Blears, who also works at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, believes more facilities need to be available in the community for people with diabetes.
He says: “It’s really important that we give people access to spaces but also to groups, to support, so that they’re not on their own handling (diabetes) and that they can improve their physical and mental well-being.
“It will improve people’s lives if we do educate people and provide the support so they can access services that they might otherwise not use.”
This rise in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes is linked to a rise in obesity levels in the UK.
Blears is a supporter of implementing a sugar tax, saying: “We need to do something radical about the food that’s in the shops.
“There’s more we can do in schools but it’s down to funding and the government needs to step up and aim at prevention rather than cure.
“That seems to be not just in diabetes but across the health economy that seems to be where we are currently failing.”
Blears previously worked at commissioning level in the NHS and says: “There’s a funding issue across the NHS but probably more relevant is the funding issue to local government.
“I would like to see more funding going into preventing and possibly reversing type 2 diabetes and combating obesity.”
Symptoms can be easily missed in the early stages and go undetected for many years. By the time they are diagnosed one in three have complications with their eyes, feet, kidneys or nerves.
A variety of services are available for people who have diabetes including a range of group education and support sessions in various venues across Salford, as well as nutrition, exercise and lifestyle advice in order to prevent the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Anyone who believes they are at risk of developing diabetes should visit a GP or check their risk by using this link https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start.