Diabetes, or to give the condition its full name ‘Diabetes Mellitus’, is a common condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body is not able to use it properly.

Over 4.6 million or 1 in 15 people in the UK have diabetes – 3.7 million are already diagnosed but up to 1 million more have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. By 2030, it’s likely that more than 5.5 million people will have diabetes in the UK.  In Leeds, around 44,000 people have the condition, and a further 32,000 are at high risk of developing it.

There are a number of types of diabetes, but the main two are:

Type 1 diabetes is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Approximately 10% of adults and 90% of children with diabetes will have type 1. This type cannot be prevented.

Type 2 diabetes is where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. 90% of adults with diabetes have this type but more than half of all cases can be prevented or delayed.

At present, diabetes cannot be cured and can cause a number of serious but preventable health problems.  However, if managed well, people with diabetes can lead a full and active life.

What are we doing in Leeds?

Treating diabetes is a priority for the CCG because of the significant and sometimes devastating impact it has on the lives and health of people in Leeds.  This is also reflected in the high proportion of the NHS budget spent on diabetes and its long-term complications. We work closely with health care professionals across the city and with patients, carers and their families to understand what we need to focus on to help make sure that people with diabetes keep well and live life to the full.

In 2017, we successfully bid for additional funding from NHS England to improve outcomes for people with diabetes. We have used this money in three key areas:

  • Self-management and skills development programme – we want to increase people’s confidence to manage their condition so have increased the number of courses available from 33 to 125 per year
  • Foot care – unfortunately, diabetes is the single biggest cause of avoidable amputations. To help improve outcomes in this area, we have a multidisciplinary foot team (MDFT) for people with diabetic foot disease and have expanded the foot protection service with a focus on high and moderate risk patients and ulcer prevention
  • Diabetes inpatient specialist nurses – we have provided more specialist nurses and dieticians in our hospitals to improve health professionals’ knowledge, reduce length of hospital stays and improve patient care and treatment, reducing the risks of readmission.

Diabetes strategy for Leeds – Health care professionals, voluntary sector partners, patients and carers have worked together to develop a plan to reduce the number of people who develop diabetes and identify everyone who has it, while also looking at how we can support people with the condition to live a fulfilling life.

Information & resources

  • NHS website – information about different kinds of diabetes, treatment and self-care
  • My diabetes – a booklet with all the information you need to be in control of your diabetes, problems to look out for and who to contact for help and support
  • Diabetes UK – the website has a wide range of information, advice, support and education resources for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • JDRF – type 1 diabetes charity
  • Digibete – website designed by parents and carers to help children, young people and families affected by type 1 diabetes.

Local support

Leeds Diabetes UK Group is a support group for those diagnosed with diabetes, Type 1 & Type 2, carers and parents. They meet every month at The Yorkshire Dance Studios, where a speaker in the field of diabetes will often present for half the session with the other hour designated for peer support/advice, learning and friendship.

You can find the group online, on Facebook.  or you can call 07840 686618

Management and care

  • Diabetes UK Learning Zone – accurate and reliable learning and support content tailored to your individual circumstances, including hints, tips and videos from other people living with diabetes
  • Type 1 diabetes – the DAFNE programme is a 5 day training programme
  • Type 2 diabetes – The LEEDS programme is a three part programme designed to help anyone with a recent diagnosis learn how they can manage their condition
  • Foot care – good foot care is essential to avoid potentially serious complications. There’s more information in our guides, as well as in this video from Diabetes UK.

Innovation in diabetes care

The CCG is currently piloting the use of Smartphone powered albumin:creatinine ratio (ACR) testing in collaboration with Healthy.io.

Using a test kit and mobile app, patients can perform the test from the comfort of their own home. The ACR test looks for particles of protein in urine called albumin. The presence of these particles may suggest first signs of kidney damage. The test is available for diabetes patients, within participating Leeds CCG GP practices. There’s more information in this patient leaflet.