People with Type 2 diabetes are being 'let down' because they are being forced to wait for further treatment when needed.
Research has shown the average waiting time for increased treatment from the start of insulin is 3.7 years.
Maintaining tight control of blood sugars in people with Type 2 diabetes can lead to significant reductions in related complications, previous evidence has shown.
However 'clinical inertia', which is the term given for the delay of increasing medication needed for patients, is preventing this from happening, according to a study published in the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism journal.
The research was carried out by NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) East Midlands, an organisation which turns research into cost-saving and high-quality care through cutting-edge innovation.
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Director of CLAHRC East Midlands and Professor of Primary Care Diabetes & Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: "Of the 11,000 patients we studied, only a third of those needing further medication were actually given it.
"Clinical inertia is a global phenomenon, which is putting people with Type 2 diabetes at further risk of preventable complications associated with the condition.
"Failure by healthcare professionals to intensify medication in the pursuit of tighter glycaemic control is due to a number of complex reasons related to patient and health care professional factors. However, we need to make great efforts to reverse these trends and improve patients reaching tight glucose targets from diagnosis of diabetes"
The study concluded that more should be done to avoid clinical inertia and patients should have their treatment intensified where appropriate.
Long-term complications and mortality associated with Type 2 diabetes can be significantly reduced if therapies are initiated earlier.
Explore further: Drive to reduce 999 diabetes calls in East Midlands starts
K. Khunti et al. Clinical inertia with regard to intensifying therapy in people with type 2 diabetes treated with basal insulin, Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (2016). DOI: 10.1111/dom.12626