30th October 2013 - The latest National Diabetes Audit finds some targets for diabetes care are being missed in England and Wales.
The audit is said to be the biggest of its kind in the world and is based on care given to almost 2.5 million people with diabetes.
Blood pressure targets have been highlighted as a particular concern as 1.2 million patients, or 48.1%, had not met the blood pressure target of less than 140/80.
In a statement, Dr Bob Young, the clinical lead for the report, says: "Today’s audit shows how much scope there is for reducing heart disease and stroke in people with diabetes by achieving the blood pressure treatment target more often."
Diabetes UK says that overall, this report shows that in many areas the NHS needs to do more to improve diabetes healthcare.
The recommended glucose control level, an HbA1c reading of 58mmol/mol or lower was met by 27% of people with type 1 diabetes and 65.8% of people with type 2 diabetes.
However, 56.8% of patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and 37.4% of patients with type 2 diabetes, did not receive all their diabetes checks.
Younger patients were less likely than older patients to receive all of the annual checks.
The report says diabetes is more common in men than it is in women.
Eye screening is also an important part of diabetes care but is not recorded in this year's report. However, the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening Programme says there's a low uptake of eye screening and that diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness in England.
The report says the worst performing NHS areas should learn from the good ones on how to deliver better care and diabetes health checks.
It says current systems for delivering the standards set out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) should be reviewed and improved.
It also says new approaches may be needed for diabetes care for young people, people from ethnic minorities and people with type 1 diabetes.
The report is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in partnership with the charity Diabetes UK. Reacting to the study in a statement, Barbara Young, the charity's chief executive says: "It is concerning that there is still a considerable variation in the percentage of people getting the checks they need to help them manage their condition, with less than 20% getting eight care processes in the worst performing areas while in the best-performing areas over 75% are getting these checks. If the NHS in one area can achieve this then why can’t it do so in others?"
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