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Ineffective diabetes checks leading to increase in complications

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Many diabetes patients are not being subjected to effective monitoring and this is creating an increased risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, blindness and amputation, a new NHS audit has revealed.

Just over half (54%) of diabetes patients in England are being given all nine medical checks, while the figure in Wales is 60%.

However the report points out the overall proportion of patients in England receiving all nine checks - which include checking blood pressure, blood sugar levels and the condition of the patient’s feet - has seen a slight increase from 51% in 2009-10 to 54% in 2010-11.

The National Diabetes Audit found some geographical variation, with less than half of patients in almost a quarter of English local health authority areas receiving all the checks. The report also showed that patients aged under 55 were less likely to receive all nine checks than older patients.

Patients failing to turn up for appointments could partly explain the disparity between different geographical regions and age groups, the authors suggested, but it “may also reflect the amount of care provision offered in some areas”.

Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young said the increase in the number of patients getting all nine checks was “much too slow”.


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