Soaring spending on diabetes takes up an eighth of NHS drugs budget .

More than 10 per cent of all NHS drug spending is now devoted to diabetes, amid Britain’s spiralling obesity crisis, official figures show.

The statistics reveal that the bill for antidiabetic medication has risen by more than 220 per cent in a decade.

Health campaigners last night said the trends were “staggering,” warning that diabetes coudl bankrupt the NHS.

They urged politicians to prioritise the crisis.

Two in three adults are overweight or obese, with a doubling in obesity levels since 1993.

The report from NHS Digital shows that the overall bill for all types of medication and devices to treat the disease has now reached more than £1bn.

In total, 55 million prescriptions were dispensed in 2018/19, a 68 per cent rise from 33 million a decade before.

The figures show 12.5 per cent of all drug spending in 2018/19 went on treatment of diabetes.

The cost of prescribing specific antidiabetic drugs rose by more than 220 per cent, from £168 million in 2008/9 to £540 million in 2018/19.

And spending on all types of medication and devices used for the condition - including insulin and monitoring devices - went up from £599m in 2008/09 to £1,075 million in 2018/19.

It follows warnings that one in ten patients being admitted to hospital are suffering from Type 2 diabetes, which is fuelled by excess weight.

Hospitals are treating 5,000 patients for the condition every day, the statistics show, a figure which the head of the NHS described as “alarming”.

Earlier this week Simon Stevens warned: “Ever-expanding waistlines are taking a growing toll on our families’ health and on our NHS”.

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, urged politicians to put the issue “at the top of their health manifestos”.

He said: “The level of diabetes is a national crisis that is blighting millions of people's lives and could even bankrupt the NHS.”

“The figure is staggering and will inevitably continue to rise until a UK government begins seriously to tackle obesity, the major cause of Type 2 diabetes,” Mr Fry warned.

And he said the overall cost of all the diseases triggered by obesity was now around £24bn every year.

Today Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity for the NHS said the figures showed a “sustained and steep” surge in the numbers suffering from the condition.

He said: “This new data is another reminder of the urgent need to prevent Type 2 diabetes from developing in the first place through healthier lifestyles.

“Hundreds of thousands of people at high risk have now been offered a place on the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, part of our Long Term Plan for the health service.”

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