Diabetes is “the fastest growing health threat of our time”, a hospital meeting heard.

Governors of Dorset County Hospital have discussed new measures which could be introduced to improve how patients are cared for, and to slow down the increase in the numbers of people suffering with the condition.

In a report presented by diabetes consultant Dr Fiona Wotherspoon during a governors meeting, she said the prevalence of diabetes in Dorset is currently nine per cent, with Public Health England predicting it could rise to 10 per cent (around 60,000 people) by 2035 if no changes are made.

Dr Wotherspoon said that more integration is needed to create “better flow and movement” between doctors in GP surgeries and diabetes specialists working in hospitals.

Suggested ideas include monthly visits to GP clinics by specialist nurses, as well as monthly locality meetings with consultants, nurses and dieticians and virtual clinics by consultants in primary care.

Many NHS trusts across the country have also signed up to a voluntary scheme to reduce sales of sugary drinks to 10 per cent or less of sold beverages - drinks which can lead to health complications such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

In January, hospitals and suppliers were warned that if they don’t take action to reduce sales of sugary drinks by the end of March 2018, a complete ban will be introduced instead.

David Tett, who represents west Dorset on the panel of governors, called for DCH to add its name to the list or risk action being taken.

He said: “Diabetes is the fastest growing health threat of our time.

“Since 1996, the number living with diabetes has more than doubled. I have many of my constituents suffering with both 1 and 2 type strains. Whilst diabetes 1 is treated by medication, those with diabetes 2, which I happen to be one, rely on diet and exercise, and this is where we can do more.

“DCH are leading the way in reducing the sugar content in soft drinks and food. However, we can do a lot more in joining the voluntary scheme operated by many NHS Trusts.”

“Could we, therefore at DCH add our name to the list? If we fail to do so, then I fear a situation might arise whereby NHS England could take action to ban these items from hospital canteens etc.”

Dietetics and catering teams at Dorset County Hospital (DCH) started changes to encourage consumption of non-sugary drinks before being notified of the NHS England scheme.