NEARLY one in five beds in Sussex hospitals are taken up by diabetes patients, new figures have revealed.

More than 17 per cent of beds at hospitals in Brighton, Chichester, Eastbourne and Haywards Heath are occupied by patients with the condition.

A report by Diabetes UK found that a tenth of the total NHS budget is spent on the condition and its related health problems. Costs are predicted to rise to 17 per cent in the next 20 years.

The charity claims NHS money is often spent badly with sufferers diagnosed too late, running up huge bills.

Only a tenth of the newly diagnosed are offered advice on how to manage their condition. Diabetes UK argues that better education could save £2,200 per patient.

Figures last September showed that 89 patients out of a total of 520 at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton had the condition.

The number increased from audits in 2011 and 2010 when the proportion of diabetes sufferers at the Brighton hospital was 5.9 per cent and 13.1 per cent.

A similar proportion of patients at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester were diabetic last September last year, a rise from one in eight in 2011.

The percentage of patients at Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath also increased from 13.8 per cent to 17.9 per cent in three years.

One in seven patients at Worthing Hospital had diabetes in the 2013 audit compared to 9.7 per cent in 2011.

Barbara Young of Diabetes UK said: “The NHS spends an eye-watering amount on diabetes but too often the focus is on cutting costs by cutting specialist nurses, restricting access to blood glucose test strips and poorly planned transferrals to primary care.

“This makes it difficult for people to manage the condition.”