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Medical professionals are warning of a future diabetes crisis following the ongoing COVID pandemic. It is now thought that at least 60,000 cases of diabetes in the UK have gone undiagnosed since the start of lockdown in March 2020. The findings raise alarms as to the mounting potential for delayed diagnosis claims given the scale of those undiagnosed.
Research has highlighted that one in four new cases of diabetes were undiagnosed in the last year. It is thought that people may have been more reluctant to visit their GP due to the ongoing pandemic, as well as finding it harder to get an appointment to see a medical professional. In addition, it is possible that GPs made less referrals for further medical examinations which may have been vital in ensuring a speedy diagnosis. In these situations, there may be a surge in the number of delayed diagnosis compensation claims.
The number of undiagnosed cases of diabetes is based on research, published in the Telegraph covering a quarter of the UK population and extrapolated to establish a nationwide figure. However, it is possible that the real undiagnosed figure is indeed higher. This is especially true as many people’s daily patterns changed with an increase in working from home, gym closures and restrictions on exercising and group sports. These factors could impact the number of future diabetes cases.
A delayed diagnosis of diabetes can have wide ranging consequences for the individual, including requiring more extensive treatment or further deterioration before medication is given.
Diabetes is also associated with a number of further complications including eye, heart and kidney problems as well as an increased risk of strokes. Without an accurate diagnosis, patients may not be correctly monitored for these factors and where complications may arise a claim for delayed diagnosis may follow.
However, the research also highlighted how it was not only the initial diagnosis of diabetes that suffered as a result of the pandemic, but that those with the condition were also likely to have had restricted access to medical services. The research highlighted that patients were up to 88 percent less likely to receive medical checks, such as blood pressure reviews, than when compared to pre-covid. These checks are important in identifying any complications before they develop and before extensive medical intervention may be needed.
At this stage it is too early to establish the full impact that reduced medical provisions have had on those with diabetes, however this may impact the amount of compensation for delayed diagnosis that is sought as a result.