Testing Times

More than 1.3 million diabetes patients not offered vital tests

This was the stark headline on the BBC News yesterday.  It has been claimed by the National Diabetes Audit for England that huge numbers of patients with diabetes are not receiving the nine mandatory tests that everyone with diabetes should receive annually.
The tests are :

  • Blood glucose level (HbA1C)
  • Blood pressure
  • Serum cholesterol
  • Eye screening
  • Leg and foot check
  • Kidney function
  • Weight
  • Smoking check
  • Care planning

It is not as if any of these tests are new.  They have been enshrined in every diabetes guideline and target since at least 1995.  These include (to name a few):

Amongst other things it is claimed that less than 10% of patients are offered all the tests.  As over 90% of GP’s claim the maximum number of QOF points it is clear that many GP’s are claiming for tests, the results of which they are either not performing or, possibly, recording.

Diabetes UK claim that “this is one of the few problems facing the government that does not require more investment”.

The bottom line is that many patients are suffering from major complications that they do not need to suffer from because blindness, amputation, renal transplants, stroke and myocardial infarction are largely preventable with early detection and management.

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