A huge rise in the number of recorded diabetes cases is costing the Fylde coast £5m a year.
New figures show cases of the illness have soared dramatically in the last 10 years, while local health chiefs say they are working hard to tackle the problem.
We have already undertaken a lot of work to improve patient outcomes across Fylde and Wyre.Dr Tony Naughton
Since 2010, recorded cases of diabetes have rocketed by almost 12 per cent on the Fylde coast – bringing the total number of sufferers to more than 20,000.
In Blackpool, 7.2 per cent of the adult population suffer from the condition. Although the figures are lower in Fylde and Wyre, at 6.4 and 6.9 per cent respectively, both are above the national average of 6.2 per cent.
New research from national charity Diabetes UK found cases in England and Wales have risen by 59.8 per cent in the past decade – as an additional 1.2m adults are now living with the condition compared to 10 years ago.
Chief executive Barbara Young warned the soaring number of diabetes cases will “spiral out of control and threaten to bankrupt the NHS” unless urgent action is taken.
She added: “With a record number of people now living with diabetes in the UK, there is no time to waste – the Government must act now.”
But while NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG spent a combined £4.9m treating diabetic patients in 2013, Public Health England figures show residents are getting good value for money.
As well as treatment, money is being spent on preventative measures including education, to encourage people to live healthier lifestyles.
Dr Tony Naughton, local GP and NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG clinical chief officer, said: “Improving local diabetes services is one of our top priorities.
“We have already undertaken a lot of work to improve patient outcomes across Fylde and Wyre.
“It is also important to help people manage their diabetes better and stay fit and healthy. We are putting on an education programme that will give people the help and skills they need to stay well.”
Ms Young added: “There is huge potential to save money and reduce pressure on NHS hospitals and services through providing better care to prevent people with diabetes from developing devastating and costly complications.”
NHS Blackpool CCG did not provide a comment when approached by The Gazette but a spokesman said the CCG is doing a lot of work to tackle diabetes in the resort.