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‘Information prescriptions’ for patients with uncontrolled diabetes

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Practice nurses and GPs treating diabetes patients who do not have their condition under control will be encouraged to give them “information prescriptions”, under an initiative launched today.

The scheme, led by Diabetes UK, means an alert will flash up on the practice computer advising that the patient could benefit from an “information prescription” if they are currently failing to meet targets for blood pressure, cholesterol or blood glucose.

At present only an estimated 36% of patients with diabetes meet all three targets.

The information prescription comprises a one-page document, which will be tailored to each patient and contains practical advice on how to better manage their health and an action plan that they agree with their clinician.

The document can be printed off and taken away by the patient, said Diabetes UK.

The charity said the aim of the new approach was to ensure people with diabetes “get the information they need, when they need it”, with the suggested actions including things like joining a walking group or testing blood glucose levels more often.

Diabetes UK has worked with primary care IT systems, including EMIS Web, Vision and SystmOne to try and make it as easy as possible for healthcare professionals to incorporate information prescriptions into their consultations with patients.

The cut-off points for prompts in the IT system are based on National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance, which sets out what targets a patient should be achieving to reduce their risk of complications.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The reason information prescriptions are so exciting is that they will give people a chance to develop a personal plan with their doctor or nurse which is tailored to their needs.”

She added that the charity had seen an “incredibly positive response” from pilot projects for the scheme, both from healthcare professionals and patients.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, said: “We know that primary care is under a lot of time pressure, but the design of these allows best practice around care planning and goal setting to be done during routine care.”

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