Time for an EU Diabetes Strategy
Source: Sarah Ludford MEP
Subject: Time for an EU Diabetes Strategy
Date published: 11 October 2011
A senior UK Liberal Democrat MEP is calling for urgent development of an EU strategy on diabetes to deal with the epidemic increase of the chronic debilitating disease and to focus spending on prevention and research for a cure as well as on improving treatment. She is today chairing a meeting of the EU Diabetes Working group on national diabetes plans and the road towards an EU strategy.
Currently around 30 million people suffer from (types 1 and 2) diabetes in the EU with figures expected to rise to around 50 million by 2025. In the UK at least 3 million people have the disease and it costs 10% of the NHS budget, not least the cost of treating serious complications like the effects on eyes, kidneys and circulation.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of the EU Diabetes Working Group in the European Parliament, UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford said:
"Diabetes is set to be the single biggest health challenge of this century. But governments' response is not matching in urgency the huge impact of this disease on individuals, families and health costs. Diabetes seems to get overlooked compared to cancer or heart disease."
"People with diabetes often suffer stigma from an assumption that a change of lifestyle would sort them out. This simplistic view which ignores genetic and other factors means action is lagging behind need. Tiny babies with Type 1 diabetes have not acquired it from failing to diet! "
"Given the costs of research and development of new treatment methods, we must cooperate at EU level and share best practices through an EU strategy which hopefully will be devised during the 2012 Danish Presidency of the EU."
Ms Ludford has been active on the issue of diabetes care and prevention for many years due to a family interest. She currently co-chairs the EU Diabetes Working Group, a collaboration between MEPs and a network of diabetes organisations grouped in the European Coalition for Diabetes.