Diabetes patients risk suffering complications in Barking and Dagenham, charity warns

Thousands of people who have diabetes in Barking and Dagenham could be risking their health because they are failing to have basic checks such as blood and cholesterol tests, a charity has claimed.

Diabetes UK published statistics from a national survey which showed that two-thirds of sufferers in the borough did not receive the nine tests and checks that are recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

This was worse than the national average, which was half, but health chiefs said the figures dated back to 2009/2010 and new statistics due out this month are expected to show major improvements.

An estimated 9,100 people currently live with the condition in Barking and Dagenham, according to the NHS.

Diabetes sufferers are at increased risk of suffering debilitating complications including amputations and strokes, it is said.

The charity say that a failure to carry out the routine checks could lead to a range of complications such as heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.

Roz Rosenblatt, charity regional manager for London, said: “Diabetes is one of the greatest health challenges we face today and yet these figures show that thousands of people with the condition in Barking and Dagenham are failing to get the most basic level of care.

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“We want local NHS leaders to make sure all people with diabetes in the area get the right care and all the recommended checks.

“It is essential that health leaders in the area work together on this issue and put diabetes at the top of their agenda.

“Unless this happens, the financial and human toll on the NHS and the local community will be immense.”

The charity said that the 2009/10 National Diabetes Audit had shown that 66 per cent of people with diabetes in Barking and Dagenham did not receive the nine routine tests, compared with a national average of 50 per cent in the country.

But NHS North East London and the City said that 100 per cent of patients registered with diabetes at their GP practices were offered tests and 82 per cent underwent screening this year, compared with just 57 per cent in 2009/10.

The trust said that an integrated diabetes service had been set up at a medical centre in Porters Avenue, Dagenham, and stressed the 2009/10 audit figures showed services were below the national average in some areas but in line or above it in others.

A spokesman said: “The very latest audit is released later this month and we expect to see further improvements locally.”