Sir George Young, MP for North West Hampshire,, attended a House of Commons Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday 20 January to mark the 75th anniversary of leading health charity Diabetes UK.
The reception formally launched a year of events that will mark the anniversary and recognise the progress that has been made in diabetes care over the last 75 years.
At the reception Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, was announced as the winner of the inaugural 2009 Diabetes UK Parliamentary Champion and Adrian Sanders, MP for Torbay, as the winner of the Diabetes UK 75th Anniversary Award. These awards aimed at recognising politicians who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in raising awareness of diabetes in Parliament.
Sir George said:
“There are around 4400 people with diabetes in my constituency and with four hundred people being diagnosed with diabetes every day in the UK - equal to one person every three minutes - the condition is one of the biggest health challenges currently facing the UK.
“Moving diabetes up the political agenda in Diabetes UK’s 75th anniversary year is a must if we are to curb this health crisis and see a reduction in the number of people being diagnosed with this serious condition.”
The novelist HG Wells – who most famously wrote The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds - and Dr R D Lawrence, both of whom had diabetes formed the Diabetic Association in 1934, which later changed its name to the British Diabetic Association. The charity’s aim was to ensure that everyone in the UK could gain access to insulin, whatever their financial situation.
This was a ground-breaking initiative prior to the existence of a national health service. The organisation has always challenged ideas of how people with diabetes should be treated and from the start believed in support to enable active self-management of the condition. The organisation campaigned actively for the establishment of the NHS and our underlying principles of partnership working, proactive control and lobbying continue to this day.
Diabetes UK Chief Executive Douglas Smallwood, said: “There are three million people in the UK with diabetes. Our mission is to improve the lives of people with the condition and work towards a future without diabetes.
“In our 75th year we will be remembering the achievements of all our committed supporters: volunteers, members and donors as well as the healthcare professionals, campaigners and Diabetes UK staff who are committed to helping people with diabetes and their families.”
Diabetes is a serious condition that, if not managed effectively, can lead to long-term complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation. Short-term complications of the condition include hypoglycaemic episodes, known as ‘hypos’, can lead to unconsciousness and hospitalisation if left untreated. However, effective diabetes management from the time of diagnosis can reduce the risk of these complications.
To find out if you are at risk of diabetes visit www.diabetes.org.uk/silent-assassin