A charity is urging health bosses to take urgent action as diabetes diagnoses soar at more than double the national rate.

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes shot up by an eighth (12.7%) in North Kirklees over three years, according to official figures.

The rate rose at more than double the national average (6%) in the area, where more than half (56%) of its adults are overweight or obese.

And in Huddersfield, diagnoses of diabetes increased by 5.3% over the same period, according to figures from the government’s Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Stephen Ryan, North of England manager for charity Diabetes UK, said the ‘alarming’ rise in cases should serve as a ‘stark’ call to health bosses.

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Mr Ryan said: “Over the past three years we have continued to see the number of people with diabetes in North Kirklees rise at an alarming rate and these latest figures are a stark call and urgent call for action to tackle this serious health condition.

READ MORE: Diabetes levels surging twice the national average in north Kirklees

“Tragically, we are continuing to see too many people with diabetes suffering serious complications, and even dying before their time, and we know that key reasons for this are that they are not getting the care and access to education that would help them to manage their condition well.”

There are an estimated 4m people with diabetes in the UK, which includes approximately 549,000 people who do not know they have the type-II variant of the disease.

According to the charity 24,000 people in the country die prematurely from diabetes.

A nurse giving a patient a diabetes test

The charity has urged health bosses to improve education about diabetes and improve healthcare for people with the condition.

Mr Ryan said: “It is vital that we start see people with diabetes receive good quality care wherever they live rather than them being at the mercy of a postcode lottery. Equally, diabetes education needs to be readily available everywhere, and commissioned along with a proper local system that explains to people with diabetes the benefits they will gain from attending an education course, and ensures that courses are well run.

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“We also need a concerted effort led by the Government to take active steps to address the fact that almost two in every three people in the UK are overweight or obese and are therefore at increased risk of type-II diabetes.”

A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said: “NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with the council to continue to develop evidence-based lifestyle management programmes which will help people reduce their risk of developing type-II diabetes.

“The NHS Health Checks programme, offered by GPs to patients aged between 45 and 74 years identifies any risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease – this includes a focus on diabetes. The comprehensive health assessment process also assesses weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other lifestyle factors that may need to be changed to reduce that risk.”