Newish diabetes statistics, apparently

The Daily Mail had a story today, about diabetes statistics, and I’m trying to get my head around it. The article seems to imply that there’s been some new study (has there?) or new figures released about the numbers of people with diabetes in the UK and now that number is over 3 million.

There are some recently published (March 2013) prevalence figures on Diabetes UK’s website but I’m assuming that they’re just the QOF [Quality and Outcomes Framework] figures that were released in October 2012. When I worked there I was actually in the team that updated this bit on the website, here are all the previous pages.

Diabetes prevalence 2012 (published March 2013, covers data from 2011 to 2012)
Diabetes prevalence 2011 (published October 2011)
Diabetes prevalence 2010 (published October 2010)
Diabetes prevalence 2009 (published October 2009)
Diabetes prevalence 2008 (published October 2008)
Diabetes prevalence 2007 (published October 2007)
Diabetes prevalence 2006 (published October 2006)

Before 2006 there wasn’t a QOF in place so there was no opportunity to use this as a diabetes register but if you want some earlier stats I have some here at DiabetesStatistics, in particular diabetes prevalence through the years.

The news report also suggests that there are around 850,000 people with diabetes and implies that this insight arose “according to analysis of official data by Diabetes UK charity and Tesco”. The 850k is a reasonable enough estimate but that figure has been widely in use for some time and featured in the 2010 impact report, so I’m not sure it’s an analysis of the current figures.

In fact, back in February I calculated the new diabetes totals for each of the four nations because I wanted to update my stats site (I’ve not done so as I found conflicting figures and wanted to find out more). It’s just a case of finding the right Excel spreadsheet for each of the nations’ QOF figures that matches to the number of people with diabetes, then adding them up. I’ve now published the draft version of that post: Trying to find this year’s QOF stats on diabetes – worked example

See also Gavin Jamie’s rather fab QOF (diabetes) database on his gpcontract website – you can navigate up and down tiers, looking at different years and different diseases as well as different nations. You can even drill into strategic health authorites, eg for England and then primary care trusts, eg London and then individual practices, eg all of those in Lewisham.

The story also appears on the following sites:
BBC News
Channel 4 News, which says “Researchers for Diabetes UK and Tesco found 132,000 people were diagnosed with the disease over the last year and a further 850,000 people are thought to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes” – 132,000 is simply the difference between QOF totals for the UK between this year and last year, so this seems like a baffling statement.

Diabetes UK also implies that there’s been some new research or analysis, which I find a wee bit disingenuous – although maybe this reflects my lack of imagination in selling ‘research’ and ‘analysis’. I shall learn from this 🙂

The number of people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes has reached three million for the first time, equivalent to 4.6 per cent of the UK’s population, according to new analysis carried out by Diabetes UK and Tesco.” (OK, but I’m pretty sure it reached it in October 2012 when the figures were published by the NHS Information Centre).

Snark and bafflement aside that’s still an awful lot of people with diabetes and it’s great that Tesco is going to raise some extra money to help tackle that.


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