A huge variation in the standard of diabetes care has been reported by the latest National Diabetes Audit (NDA) carried out by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HISC), which revealed that, in some areas of the UK, as few as one in five patients with the condition are getting all of their NICE-recommended checks. The audit revealed that only 60% of people with diabetes in the UK are receiving all the recommended checks and follow up and - in some areas - the percentage of those receiving it falls as low as 20%.
The report also highlighted poor control of risk factors according to NICE targets, with 62% of patients with type 2 diabetes failing to achieve the NICE-recommended goal blood pressure level of 140/80 mmHg or 130/80 mmHg in those with complications. Over a third of type 2 patients did not achieve the NICE goal for glucose control of HbA1c levels of 58 mmol/mol or lower and nearly 60% did not achieve the cholesterol target of less than 4 mmol/L.
As in previous years, patients with type 1 diabetes generally received less good care than type 2 patients according to the audit measures, with only 43% having all their annual checks, three-quarters not achieving the NICE target for glucose control and four out of five patients not reaching the cholesterol target.
HSCIC said that the areas with the lowest performance need to recognise these failings and look at the areas which are achieving better outcomes with a view to improving their care provision to better support those patients with diabetes. The report also highlighted the importance of educating those with diabetes about the condition, the risks they face and what they can do to minimise those risks and protect themselves.
Philippa Luscombe, partner in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP, said: “The Government has announced a target of 80% of all diabetes patients receiving all the recommended annual checks by 2018 but these figures suggest this may not be achieved. The significant difference between geographical areas is of concern. We see a number of clinical negligence claims each year arising from complications of diabetes – and many of which result from lack of education and/or follow up. It is important that good diabetes care in the UK continues to be prioritised and receive investment as the implications of poorly managed diabetes can be very serious.”