Northampton South MP David Mackintosh has called for government action on diabetes research funding.
Mr Mackintosh attended a tour of a diabetes research lab at King’s College London, arranged by Diabetes UK, where he saw ground-breaking research into treatments to help prevent and improve the management of the condition, which are being funded by the charity and include research into a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes.
A spokesman for the charity said there were currently 3.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK and five million people are projected to have the condition by 2025.
“Diabetes can have a huge impact on people’s lives and can lead to serious complications such as blindness, amputation and stroke and early death, which are not only personally devastating but are also extremely costly to the health service,” he said.
“Diabetes costs the NHS £10 billion annually, which amounts to 10 percent of the entire NHS budget.
“Despite the increasing numbers of people living with diabetes and the huge burden it places on the NHS, for every £1 the NHS spends managing diabetes, the UK invests just over half a penny on diabetes research, which is less investment than what many other major health conditions receive,” he added.
During the visit, Mr Mackintosh pledged to become a champion for diabetes research funding both locally and in Parliament. He called for more support from the Government to ensure world class diabetes research can be carried out in institutions across the UK.
He said: “I was delighted to visit the diabetes research lab at King’s College London. The research that Diabetes UK is funding there will help us better understand the condition, bring about life-changing breakthroughs in treatment and prevention, and in doing so will transform millions of lives and save the NHS money.
“The potential of diabetes research is huge but the area trails behind other major health conditions in terms of investment. This is why I’m asking the Government to look at this so that the lifesaving research being carried at King’s College London is replicated in institutions across the country.”
Dr Alasdair Rankin, Diabetes UK Director of Research, said: “We are pleased to have David Mackintosh’s support on what is a very important issue. The world class research that we are funding at King’s College London, as well other institutions throughout the UK, has the potential to make a huge difference to lives of everyone affected by diabetes.
“The impact of the condition on people’s lives and on the NHS is colossal, but this is not reflected by the amount of funding diabetes research receives. This is why we want to see more support from the Government to encourage diabetes research investment so that we are fully meeting the huge challenges that diabetes presents.
“Diabetes is an extremely important health issue that is affecting more and more people so it is essential that we are funding research that can lead to improvements in treatment and prevention, and ultimately bring us closer to a cure.”