Liberal Democrats in Gateshead are calling for greater screening for diabetes after worrying new figures revealed that there has been a steady rise in the number of emergency admissions to local hospitals for a life threatening condition which develops if diabetes remains undetected.
Councillor Peter Maughan, Parliamentary Spokesman for Blaydon, said that many people were not aware they were diabetic. Early detection could save lives by preventing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life threatening form of the illness.
Figures show that in 2002 there were 18 emergency admissions to hospital for DKA in the area of Gateshead Primary Care Trust (PCT). In 2006/7, this had risen to 75.
The release of the figures comes after a national service framework was set up to ensure that all PCTs offer screening to those most at risk from developing diabetes. Currently, only 57% of PCTs are offering such screening.
Councillor Maughan said, “Diabetics are increasingly being put at risk, often because they don’t know enough about their condition.
“Too many people don’t realise they have diabetes in the first place. We need better education to warn diabetics of the life-threatening dangers of DKA, and also a greater awareness campaign so that people can spot the symptoms of diabetes early. The government simply isn’t doing enough.
“Gateshead PCT must do all it can to ensure people benefit from the National Service Framework. I strongly feel that local health services should highlight the need for individuals to watch out for any symptoms of diabetes and encourage people concerned they are developing the illness to be screened.
“Early detection will certainly help to save lives.”