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Huge regional variation in diabetes care

NHS Diabetes has called on healthcare providers to urgently address the regional variations highlighted by a report into diabetes care checks.

In some parts of the country people with diabetes are up to four times more likely to have all nine essential care checks than patients in other areas of England and Wales, the National Diabetes Audit report on care processes has revealed.

The audit shows that while rates are improving, 36 Primary Care Trust (PCT) areas in England recorded fewer than half of people with diabetes as having had all their annual diabetes checks. In one PCT, only 16% received all nine checks, which include assessment of blood pressure, feet and blood sugar. At the other end of the scale, one PCT reported 71% receiving all their checks.

Anna Morton, Director of NHS Diabetes, said: “We are urging healthcare providers to address the regional variations in diabetes care checks highlighted by today’s report as a matter of priority. Every person with diabetes should be receiving all of the nine care checks as a routine part of their care. To not do so could result in avoidable complications such as foot amputations or blindness, which early detection can prevent. NHS Diabetes has a team of diabetes and commissioning experts who work with clinicians and managers in primary care to raise the standards of care for people with diabetes. If local NHS organisations recognise from today’s report that they need to address their diabetes services, we will help review improvement plans.”

The report also shows that younger people with diabetes below the age of 55 are less likely to have all of the checks compared to older people. The study was managed by the NHS Information Centre in partnership with Diabetes UK and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. It looked at care processes recorded by 83% of GP practices in England and 49% of practices in Wales between January 2010 and March 2011.





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