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Gaps in care for people with diabetes

The Healthcare Commission has released a report stating that overall NHS trusts are performing better on quality of services, but the performance of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) have declined, with many not getting to grips with the needs of people with diabetes.

Many PCTs do not fully understand the health needs of their local people, making it difficult for them to buy targeted services. 

The report said 85 per cent of PCTs did not have arrangements for providing education programmes for patients with diabetes in their area.

It also found 2,000 GP practices did not fulfil their PCT's plans to establish registers for those people at risk of coronary heart disease.

In addition, last year 2.3 million people did not have their BMI index recorded as planned, with GPs not recording the data, which provides vital statistics on levels of obesity.

The number of people diagnosed with heart failure is also considerably less (140,000) than expected, indicating that GPs may not be picking up on signs of serious illness.

In poorer areas, where people tend to experience worse health, there are 18 per cent fewer GPs than in the least deprived areas.

Furthermore, the NHS often fails to meet the needs of children and young people and the transition from children to adult services is not managed well in services for people with diabetes and disabilities.

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The report paints a bleak picture for many diabetes services in England and Wales and highlights huge gaps in the care of people with the condition. 

"Diabetes education programmes are vital because self management is central to diabetes care.  In addition, four out of five people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, so it’s critical that BMI measurements are recorded."

He added: “It is totally unacceptable that around a quarter of GP practices are failing to establish registers for those at risk of coronary heart disease which affects 80 per cent of people with diabetes.

"These problems are also magnified in socially deprived areas where there is a higher incidence rate of diabetes and so those most vulnerable are even less likely to get the diabetes support they need. In the long term all of these failures affect both the life expectancy and the quality of life for people with diabetes.”

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