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Issue Date:- 23 December 2008

100,000 people with diabetes call ‘999’ a year

PEOPLE with diabetes made more than 100,000 emergency calls in the UK last year, according to leading health charity Diabetes UK.  The charity warns that although the ambulance service has recently experienced an unprecedented volume of calls with many for non-emergency situations, most calls from people with diabetes are for severe hypoglycaemia (hypo).  A hypo is a serious short term diabetic complication caused by low blood glucose levels, which in severe cases lead to unconsciousness and require emergency medical intervention.

Other ‘999’ call-outs from people with diabetes will be due to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), caused by high blood glucose levels, which if not treated quickly can lead to diabetic coma.  Last year over 12,000 people with diabetes in England, 3,000 of whom were children, were rushed to A&E because of DKA.

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said:- “Diabetes UK recognises that the ambulance service does an amazing job and is currently under immense pressure due to increased call-outs and non-emergency calls.

For people with diabetes, illnesses such as flu can play havoc with diabetes management causing blood glucose levels to fluctuate.  This can leave people with diabetes at higher risk of DKA and more exposed to the complications of flu such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

For people with diabetes, ‘999’ calls will invariably be genuine emergencies and the continued excellent service of ambulance crews is vital for their health.”


SOUTHPORT families are set to save £63 each year thanks to new rules that will force manufacturers to improve the efficiency of televisions and home electronic devices.

The Government’s 2006 Energy Review found that 8% of British households electricity use – and so 8% of British families electricity bills – is used on devices left on standby and not being used.  Looking at the small red standby light on a TV could mean you are using as much as 75% of the power needed to watch Coronation Street.  Other devices that could be boosting household electricity bills just by being left plugged in include washing machines, amplifiers, electronic keyboards and games consoles.

A new EU law will mean that by 2013 these devices will need to use less than a watt of power while in standby.  Currently some appliances can use 10 times that amount when not turned off at the wall.  The new limit is to be phased in to allow manufacturers time to adapt to the change.

Southport Euro-MP Chris Davies said:- “This is Europe at its best, taking a lead on protecting the environment and on putting money back in the pockets of hard working families.  Turning appliances off at the wall is still going to be the best way to save money and reduce electricity use but the new regulation will lead to real savings.”

The European Commission have estimated that this new regulation will cut standby electricity consumption by nearly 75% from current levels by 2020.  By 2010 the maximum standby consumption limit will be 1 watt or 2 depending on the appliance type and these maximum levels will be sliced in half in 2013.  Across Europe the new regulation is expected to save the equivalent of Denmark’s electricity consumption every year and in Britain it could save £740 million, the equivalent of 2 power stations worth of electricity.

Distracted drivers turn aggressive when smoking at the wheel

A new survey reveals North West drivers who smoke at the wheel are aggressive and severely distracted.  The results show 1 million smoking related collisions have taken place across the UK – with drivers in the North West appearing in a UK smoking accident table.

According to the survey by Autoglass®, 75% of smokers say their driving is negatively affected by smoking at the wheel, with 61% admitting they become distracted when flicking ash out of the window.  65% take their eyes off the road when lighting-up while 30% admit to not concentrating when trying to find their cigarettes.  55% say it is harder to steer when smoking as they have less control of the wheel.  32% of young drivers aged 17 to 25 say they tend to become more aggressive if they light-up when driving and 45% reveal they take their eyes off the road.  40% also admitted they don’t drive as carefully when they’re smoking.

Which regions top the UK smoking accident table?

1.  North East
2.  West Midlands
3.  South West
4.  London
5.  East Anglia
6.  Scotland
7.  North West
8.  South East
9.  East Midlands
10.  Wales

The Autoglass® poll, which questioned 3,000 drivers, also reveals that 70% drivers think smoking at the wheel is dangerous and should be banned.  During an average 1 hour journey, if a driver smokes 3 cigarettes, they will spend a quarter of the journey time not concentrating on the road, putting millions of motorists and their passengers at risk.

Amanda Sandford, of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said:- “Smoking while driving is incredibly dangerous and by becoming distracted, smokers are putting themselves and other drivers at risk.  There are also serious health implications for the smoker and passengers, so encouraging people not to smoke while driving is a positive move and will have the benefits of reducing passengers’ exposure to toxic fumes.”

Nigel Doggett, managing director of Autoglass®, says:- “Our research shows that smoking at the wheel is a severe hazard.  Driving is a complicated business, and not an area where you can multi-task.  If drivers become distracted, they put themselves and millions of other motorists at risk.  This is a road safety issue which must be taken very seriously.”

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