The number of people affected by diabetes is growing at such an alarming rate, a report states, that it threatens to overwhelm the health service.
An estimated three million Britons now suffer from diabetes and the equivalent of 2,000 cases a week were identified last year.
Diabetes-related illness already accounts for £1 in every £10 spent by the health service and current goals for diabetes care will not be met without more government investment, a group of healthcare experts says.
Their report, published yesterday at the Houses of Parliament, states that Type 2 diabetes, which is related to obesity, now accounts for 85 per cent of sufferers. It is preventable, and effective treatment can reduce the risk of health complications by half. However, it said, a climate of central targets and financial cost-cutting in the NHS had threatened services to care for people with the chronic disease.