AN MP has backed a national campaign to help people with diabetes.
Easington MP Grahame Morris joined forces with Doreen Liversidge, vice chairman of Haswell Parish Council, to get his message to Parliament.
Mrs Liversidge, 67, has Type 2 diabetes and she joined Mr Morris as he backed a call by Diabetes UK for a national plan to improve healthcare for people with the condition.
Mr Morris attended Diabetes UK’s parliamentary launch of its State of the Nation 2012 report, which revealed that just half of people with diabetes are getting the basic checks and services they need to manage their condition.
The charity is urging the Government to implement a national plan for improving diabetes healthcare.
Diabetes UK also held a lobby on the same day at the Houses of Parliament where people with diabetes directly appealed to MPs and Ministers to commit to improving diabetes services and care.
Speaking at the parliamentary launch, Mr Morris said: “If we don’t act now to improve diabetes healthcare then even greater numbers will be at risk of developing devastating health complications such as blindness and amputations.
“The Government must put diabetes at the top of its agenda if we are to prevent what is fast becoming a crisis. I will be talking to local NHS leaders about what can be done to improve diabetes healthcare in my constituency.”
Mrs Liversidge, from Haswell, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes around 20 years ago, but says in hindsight she may have had it earlier looking back at the symptoms she had.
She added that her mother, Iris Bell, from Seaham, and her three brothers and sister are also diabetes sufferers.
Mrs Liversidge, who is married to parish council chairman Alan, who attended Parliament with her, is a representative for Diabetes UK known as a “voice”.
She said: “We are trying to get a better service and what we would really like is for people to be screened for diabetes.”
She urged anyone who thinks they may be diabetic to get checked out by their doctor and added that if the symptoms were caught earlier it could save the NHS millions of pounds.
Mrs Liversidge, who also runs the Hazlewell Centre, in Windsor Terrace, Haswell, added that there are simple lifestyle steps, including improved diet and fitness to control symptoms.
She added: “Unless you look after yourself, it can get worse, but people can live with it without any problems.”
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes has become one of the biggest health challenges we face, with 3.7m people with diabetes in the UK and 7m people at high risk. Our State of the Nation report shows many people with diabetes are being badly let down by the poor quality of services on offer, which puts them at increased risk of developing life threatening complications and premature death. This is simply not good enough.
“We need effective treatment, services focused on prevention, early diagnosis, and greater screening if we are to effectively tackle this issue. This is why we are calling for a Government implementation plan to deliver this. The human and financial cost is simply too big to ignore.”
Diabetes UK’s State of the Nation report can be downloaded at www.diabetes.org.uk