Researchers have revealed that around 50,000 people are told they have diabetes when they do not have the condition.
A further 50,000 people in England have also been diagnosed with the wrong type of diabetes, according to the research.
People with diabetes on GP lists are being miscoded, misclassified and misdiagnosed, according to a report.
The researchers found errors among 65-70 out of every 500 people diagnosed with diabetes on a GP register.
Experts from the Royal College of GPs and NHS Diabetes published new guidance aimed at improving the way the disease is recorded.
One of the experts behind the report, professor Simon de Lusignan from the University of Surrey, said the team accepted around 50,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes but do not have it, and another 50,000 are classified with the wrong type.
This means some people will have been told they have type 2 diabetes when in fact they have type 1, and vice versa.
Some of the errors are caused by mistakes made when entering information, but some are down to a lack of understanding among doctors or other staff, the report said.
Such errors can have a “considerable impact on patient care” while “accurate diagnosis is critical for the appropriate treatment for the person with diabetes”, the report said.
- Coding, Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes: A review of the coding, classification and diagnosis of diabetes in primary care in England
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