Aims: Diabetes represents a notable burden to health payers. The purpose of this study was to estimate acute hospital care costs of treating people with diabetes with reference to the costs of treating those without.
Methods: This was a retrospective study. Data from routine hospital practice were available from a large health region (439 000 people), with an estimated prevalence of diabetes of 3.4%. Common records were identified using probabilistic record linkage. Cost estimates were attributed to admissions using healthcare resource group software. Outpatient costs were attributed using published values. Data described are for 2004, and prices in pounds sterling for 2005. Standardised cost ratios were estimated to compare the costs observed in the diabetes population with those expected from the non-diabetic reference population.
Results: The total annual cost of admissions was pound28 944 811 per 100 000 people, of which pound3 650 869 per 100 000 (12.6%) was diabetes related. The standardised cost rate of inpatient treatment was 2.9. The total cost of outpatient attendances was pound6 589 971 per 100 000, of which pound711 431 per 100 000 (10.8%) was diabetes related. The standardised cost ratio for outpatient care was 4.1. The total cost of hospital care for patients with diabetes was pound11 206 986 per 100 000, or 12.3% of acute hospital expenditure. The combined standardised cost ratio was 3.1. Costs of care for inpatient treatment increased from 8.7% of revenue in 1994 to 12.3% in 2004.
Conclusions: The costs of acute hospital care for treating people with diabetes increased markedly over a decade, and now exceed 12% of revenue.