Diagnosed diabetes cases among adults rose by 130,000 to 2.9 million last year, according to the latest QOF data released on Wednesday.
It represents a 4.6% increase in diagnosed cases in a single year.
This estimate increased by 64,881 between 2009 and 2010. But the number of patients recorded as having diabetes in QOF registers grew proportionally more than this - by 117,124 - between 2009/10 and 2010/11.
It suggests GPs diagnosed and recorded around 52,000 more diabetes cases last year.
Baroness Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said: ‘The rate of increase of diabetes is growing with huge human cost and cost to the NHS. The time for action is now.’
She added that while rates of other conditions including cancers, heart disease and stroke are steady or declining, the growing ‘epidemic’ of diabetes continues to accelerate.
‘We must reverse this trend if more people are not going to suffer unnecessarily and if diabetes is not going to bankrupt the NHS. Around 10% of NHS spending goes on diabetes and its complications; this equates to £9bn per year or £1m an hour.’