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Change in measurement of HbA1c delayed

The change of reporting HbA1c from percentage (%) units to millimoles per mol (mmol/mol) on 1 June 2011, has been postponed until 1 October 2011.

The 'one-off' postponement of the "switch off" of reporting HbA1c in % units was agreed due to a number of clinicians and biochemists having expressed concern that the new measurement numbers are still not widely used or understood.

Since the announcement of the proposed change in June 2009, laboratories in the UK have reported HbA1c results in both mmol/mol and percentage % units to help people with diabetes and clinicians get accustomed to how results will be reported.

The International Federation of Clinical Chemistry (IFCC) put forward a new reference measurement method after discussion with diabetes groups worldwide and called for all countries to adopt the same measurement. This will make comparing HbA1c results from different laboratories and from research trials throughout the world much easier.

The way the results will be given is very different from the old results, but the test will still give you the same basic information about what your glucose control has been over the last 2–3 months.

Simon O'Neill, Director of Care and Policy at Diabetes UK said "It is regrettable that we have had to postpone this change but it is clear that the new numbers are not widely understood yet and making the change now could cause confusion for clinicians and patients. However, this is a one-off delay, so it is important that we work hard to get the new numbers understood before the new cut off date on October 1 this year."

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