Health chief claims diabetes-related deaths could soar in Brent

Dr Ajit Shah

Dr Ajit Shah - Credit: Archant

Brent is facing a ticking timebomb of diabetes which could see death tolls soar across the borough, a senior health chief has warned.

Dr Ajit Shah also revealed that increased levels of the potentially deadly condition could also put pressure on NHS spending in north west London.

The warning comes as figures from Diabetes UK show that Brent has the highest rate of diabetes in England with more than one in ten of its over-16 population suffering from the condition.

Dr Shah, a clinical director for NHS Brent Clinical Commissioning Group who leads on diabetes, said: “If the prevalence increases, obviously the total spend on diabetes will become significant.

“Overall the NHS spend (on diabetes) is 10 per cent of the budget and that spend would have to increase.

“It’s a public health issue and patients need to be aware there is a risk. In 10 to 15 years the levels in Brent could be quite high. Mortality rates could increase as diabetes causes strokes and heart attacks.”

Dr Shah said that levels of the condition in the borough were actually higher than reported by Diabetes UK – revealing 12 per cent of patients aged over-16 at his surgery in Kenton were battling against it. The same was true in other surgeries across Brent.

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He said: “An extra 156 people were diagnosed in Brent last year (2012-13) through the NHS health checks programme but the total number was higher. The prevalence has gone up year on year for several years.”

NHS Brent Clinical Commissioning Group is the new organisation responsible for buying health services in Brent, including community health and hospital services.

Dr Shah is part of the CCG’s governing body and as such is jointly responsible with other members for making final decisions within the group.