The NHS sees up to 200,000 cases of diabetes complications every year according to analysis by DIabetes UK.
The analysis based on the National Diabetes Audit Data, showed that in 2012/13 there were 199,537 cases of diabetes related complications in England and Wales.
With the number of people living with diabetes projected to rise to 5 million by 2025, Diabetes UK has warned that the figure illustrates the frightening scale of the condition and highlights the urgent need for the NHS to prioritise care for people with diabetes.
Diabetes complications not only have implications for the patient but are also costly to the NHS. Diabetes accounts for 10% of the entire NHS budget and the NHS spends £8 billion on treating the complications of diabetes.
Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said: 'It is an absolute tragedy that there are almost 200,000 cases a year of debilitating and life threatening diabetes complications such as heart attacks, amputations, and stroke that could be prevented with better care and support. These complications have a devastating impact on people's lives and are fuelling the high death rate in people with the condition, as well as meaning huge and often unnecessary costs to the NHS.
'With the numbers of people with diabetes rising at an alarming rate, it is vital that the Government and the NHS act urgently to end the postcode lottery of diabetes care and ensure that all people living with diabetes get the support and care they need to live long healthy lives. In particular, the NHS must get better at giving people with diabetes the education they need to take control of their condition, and ensuring that everyone with the condition is getting their essential health checks, as they can help to identify problems before they develop into serious complications.
'Unless this happens, thousands more people a year will be condemned to entirely avoidable debilitating complications and early death, and the future sustainability of the health service will be at great risk.'
However, diabetes care is still patchy in certain local areas. Figures from the 2013-2013 National Diabetes Audit show that in England and Wales 36% of people with diabetes are meeting the recommended levels for blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol, while even in the best performing area just 48% met these targets.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: 'The fact that there are 200,000 diabetes complications a year represents a scandal because these can largely be avoided through better care and education.
'Not only do these devastating complications cause misery for people with diabetes, they are also very costly to the NHS. We need to place a bigger emphasis on proactive care rather than reactive care – it's in everyone's best interests.'
Diabetes UK is calling on the government and the NHS to ensure that there is more consistency in diabetes care for all patients.