Diabetes Scotland made the call on World Diabetes Day as it highlighted a fall in the number of people with diabetes receiving regular monitoring, which is vital for spotting signs of complication in time for preventative treatment.
Life-limiting complications in diabetes are serious and include lower limb amputation, sight loss, heart attack, kidney disease and strokes.
Fewer than 40 per cent of adults with Type 1 diabetes and about 50 per cent of adults with Type 2 diabetes received all nine care checks last year, according to the Scottish Diabetes Survey 2015.
The percentage of people with Type 2 diabetes receiving each of the nine essential diabetes care checks fell compared to the year before while for people with Type 1 diabetes a percentage decrease was shown in eight of the nine care processes.
Kirsteen Murray, national director of Diabetes Scotland, said: “Up to 80 per cent of NHS Scotland’s £1 billion annual diabetes bill is spent on treating potentially avoidable complications. Smarter investment in diabetes education can reap huge benefits for both the person living with the condition and in managing rising NHS Scotland costs.
“We urge this Scottish Government to deliver on its election promise to ‘improve structured education after diagnosis’ and to commit to at least one in two people with diabetes taking part in by 2020.
“Despite the publication of the Scottish Government’s diabetes improvement plan in November 2014, the most recent Scottish diabetes survey shows we have taken a step back in providing the basic health checks people with diabetes need.”
The number of people living with diabetes in Scotland has increased by almost a third (29 per cent) in seven years, with 64,000 people added to the national diabetes register from 2008 to 2015.
Health minister Aileen Campbell said: “The NHS in Scotland provides some of the best diabetes care in the world. This is against the backdrop of increases in the number of people living with diabetes in recent years.
“Health boards and diabetes teams work hard to stress the importance of attending health checks and education courses to ensure as many people as possible attend.
“More people are now living longer lives with diabetes. The number receiving blood glucose checks and eye screening is at record levels and continues to increase year-on-year.
“More people than ever before with type 1 diabetes are receiving insulin pump therapy.”