Get a blood test, sugar

31 March 2014

Cases of Type 2 diabetes have increased dramatically in London and more quickly here than elsewhere in the country.

· There has been an estimated 75% increase in Type 2 diabetes in the capital, over the last decade.

· People of Afro-Caribbean descent are three times more likely to develop the condition than white people.

· South Asians six times more likely than white people.

· A further 850,000 people nationally are estimated to have the condition, but have not been formally diagnosed.

· Five million more people in the UK are expected to be living with the condition within the next 10 years.

· Diabetes is now the biggest single cause of amputation, stroke, blindness and end-stage kidney failure in the UK.

Over half of London’s Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) population is of Afro-Caribbean or South Asian descent. As the condition tends to present at a younger age in these ethnic groups, there is a higher risk of developing diabetes-related long-term (life and limb) complications like amputation, stroke, blindness and end-stage kidney failure.

The London Assembly Health Committee is publishing a report about Diabetes Care which will be launched at Trafalgar Square on Thursday morning, April 3rd.

Members of the Health Committee have volunteered to be tested for Diabetes, in a mobile testing van from Silver Star. They have also enlisted the help of Black singer, Melissa Bell, formerly of Soul II Soul. She developed Diabetes at the age of 21 whilst pregnant with her daughter – X Factor Winner, Alexandra Burke. Melissa is now on kidney dialysis for 8 hours every day and is awaiting a transplant operation.

Interviewees available on the day include;

· Dr Onkar Sahota, Chair of the Health Committee

· Former Soul II Soul singer, Melissa Bell, diabetes sufferer and mother of X Factor winner, Alexandra Burke

· Roz Rosenblatt, Diabetes UK

The event will take place on Thursday 3rd April from 9.30-11am at Trafalgar Square.

Media are invited to attend.


Notes to editors

1. Dr Onkar Sahota AM, Chair of the Health Committee, is available for interview. See contact details below.

2. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4228. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.