A national survey has found that almost 23,000 children and young people in England have diabetes.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, which carried out the survey for the Department of Health, said the figure was higher than previous estimates.

Of those affected, 97 per cent had type 1 diabetes. The college said the number of children with type 1 was higher than expected in the North East and South East Coast strategic health authority regions.

Type 2 was more prevalent than expected in London, the North East and West Midlands.

Plan to improve care

The figures will be used by the DH and NHS to help plan and improve care, the college said.

RCPCH president Terence Stephenson said: “For the first time we know that at least 23,000 children and young people have diabetes in England and it confirms that most cases are type 1 diabetes.

“With such a high response rate to our survey, this also is a testament to both to the efficiency and to the willingness of paediatricians nationally to collaborate and the ability of the RCPCH to conduct important research.”

National clinical director for diabetes Rowan Hillson said: “A better understanding of the numbers of children and young people with diabetes will help us to enable them to grow up unimpeded by their condition, avoiding complications such as kidney disease and eye problems.”