Bridlington’s health services are reaching ‘crisis point’ as the town struggles with the growing epidemic of diabetes.
Experts have warned that the strain on the NHS cannot continue, and in National Diabetes Week, theyhave urged local people to do more to keep themselves healthy.
If the Bridlington population don’t begin to look into their own self care and ensuring they remain healthy, we will be at a point of crisis.Natalie Belt
Around 10% of people in Bridlington have already been diagnosed with the condition, but thousands more are thought to be on the verge of adding to the pressure on local health services.
Levels in the town are significantly higher than the Yorkshire and national averages, although the higher than usual number of elderly residents in Bridlington is thought to be a contributing factor.
To try to combat the problem, and get residents to take more responsibility for their own health, a new self-help group is being set up next month.
Natalie Belt, Health Trainer service manager, said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest challenges we face in the NHS and specifically along the East Coast, which includes Bridlington.
“One in 10 of the Bridlington population have been diagnosed as diabetic and this is growing year on year.
“This can be a problem when it comes to pressures we face day in, day out as there is so much that is required to be monitored by professionals when you are diagnosed with Type Two diabetes, however it is avoidable and it’s important to recognise that by making positive lifestyle changes we can take a massive pressure out of the NHS system locally while saving money that can be spent on disease that isn’t preventable.
“If the Bridlington population don’t begin to look into their own self care and ensuring they remain healthy and doing all they can to improve lifestyle and wellbeing, we will be at a point of crisis.”
She said that the number of people with diabetes was one of the reasons so many people were struggling to get doctor’s appointments, because so much of GPs’ time is taken up dealing with patients who need regular monitoring.
Natalie added: “Regular checks are required, support from specialist diabetics nurses, good foot care and regular checks for this and ongoing regular monitoring plus the cost of medication for those having to manage the condition with medication.
“This is what we know but there are a large number of pre-diabetics being monitored daily across Bridlington at GP practices to ensure they are supported as much as they can to avoid being diagnosed with this disease.
“We are asking everyone to do something about it before it’s even a risk factor.”
The first meeting of the new self-help group, Taking Control, takes place at Bridlington Sports and Community Club, off Moorfield Road, on Tuesday, July 4, at 5.45pm.
Organisers say that similar schemes in other parts of the country have achieved positive results in helping patients to manage the condition.
There will be a series of talks from health professionals and advice on how to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Dr Mike Hardman, executive chair of Brid Inc Ltd and GP at the medical centre in Station Avenue, said: “I would stress the need for people with diabetes not to feel alone and isolated with the disease - as chronic illness can do to people.
“Having a diabetes event & support group can reduce this isolation, increase knowledge around self care and general good health and thereby reduce the potential impact of diabetes.
“We also hope to improve the awareness of the risk factors for diabetes in peoples lives so that they can make healthy changes to avoid developing the disease in the future.”
For more information about the group, call 0800 9177752.