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Diabetes patients miss out on vital checks


Almost a million patients with diabetes are not receiving the necessary NHS care, according to a new audit.

Some patients are missing out on vital checks on their body mass index (BMI), blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as foot and eye examinations.

The problem affects 60% of the number diagnosed with the disease - some 852,000 people in England.

This includes people with Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in childhood, as well as Type 2, which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.

In addition, up to a million more people in England are thought to be unaware that they have Type 2.

The NHS Information Centre report, which examined care offered by GP practices and hospitals in 2007/08, found that people with Type 1 diabetes generally fared worse across key areas of care than those with Type 2.

The authors are concerned with ‘striking’ differences in rates of complications between regions, including up to a twofold difference for kidney failure treatments and rates of amputation.

Between some primary care trusts there was a two-fold difference in rates of heart and kidney failure and heart attacks, as well as fivefold difference when it came to stroke and amputation.


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Readers' comments (3)

  • This makes it sound like it is the health professionals fault! Many of our patients don't attend, they are sent appointments, reminder letters etc. When we do see them we re-inforce the importance of regular attendance and checks and provide education and support in regard to their diabetes and yet many still don't come. It's time people took some responsibilty for their own health.

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  • I find the Anonymous comment (2nd July 8.23am) grossly naive. It has to be appreciated that patients with diabetes do not see their condition as a series of bullet points that need to be achieved for their next review. These are people with a lifetime condition, that can be difficult to juggle with when in the real world; especially insulin dependant (Type 1) diabetics. The frustration/anger of patients with diabetes should not be under-estimated, and this can manifest itself as non-compliance. And yes this is equally demoralising and frustrating for the clinicians supporting them.

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  • Now that the NHS report on diabetes care is out, perhaps some people will not be quick to conclude that prevention strategies do not save money. Because look at that report that says almost a million diabetics do not get the vital checks.

    Evelyn Guzman

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