NHS Diabetes has called for more investment in specialist diabetes care to reduce the estimated £600 million excess spend on treating diabetes in hospitals identified in a new report.
The research, titled ‘Inpatient Care for People with Diabetes – The Economic Case for Change’, found that the NHS in England spends more than £2.3 billion a year on inpatient care for people with diabetes — that’s 11% of NHS inpatient care expenditure. About £600 million of this outlay is estimated to be excess expenditure on diabetes – that is, over and above the sum spent on a population of the same age and gender without the condition. Inpatient care for someone with diabetes costs the NHS 35% more a year than care for someone of the same age without diabetes.
The findings led NHS Diabetes Director Anna Morton to call for more investment in specialist diabetes teams. She said: “If people with diabetes are admitted to hospital, care from diabetes specialist nurses reduces problems and shortens lengths of stay. Unnecessary hospital admissions and lengths of stay do not only increase costs, more importantly they cause great distress for patients.”
Specialist diabetes inpatient teams can improve outcomes for patients and generate savings that substantially outweigh the cost of such teams. In 2010 Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust reported that the percentage of patients with good glucose control rose from 42% to 70% after the introduction of a specialist diabetes service. Mean length of stay fell from 14.9 to 13.8 days. Readmission rates fell in all parts of the hospital covered by the team.