Core National Diabetes Audit results published
People with diabetes are not receiving vital health checks which are needed to reduce the risk of complications, according to an audit of the NHS.
The National Diabetes Audit (NDA) 2014-2015 has concluded that fewer than two in five (38.7 per cent) of people with type 1 underwent all of the eight tests and fewer than three in five (58.7 per cent) of those with type 2 did so.
The report, using data compiled from 1.9 million people in England and Wales with diabetes, also found that among people aged under 40, just 27.3 per cent of those with type 1 diabetes and 40.8 per cent with type 2 diabetes are receiving all eight annual diabetes care processes.
Healthcare professionals are advised to carry out the annual health checks, which include looking at blood glucose levels (HbA1c), blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the person’s body mass index (BMI), in order to detect any future complications diabetes complications early.
The figures are down on the year before and are also the lowest numbers seen since the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) began monitoring its performance in diabetes care since 2009-10.
It is disappointing that younger people are not getting the annual checks which are simple yet can pick up devastating complications early.
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “It is deeply worrying that such a low percentage of younger people with diabetes are receiving all eight of the vital care processes.
“With this reflecting patterns of previous years, urgent action must be taken to ensure younger people too are given the best chances of good health and don’t continue to be left behind.
“We know that young people may struggle to fit in getting the checks with work and a busy life. But it is vital that commissioners look at ways to enable more young people to have better access to the healthcare services that will help them to manage their diabetes on a day to day basis.
“As the number of people with diabetes continues to soar, mainly fuelled by the massive increase in recent years of people developing type 2 diabetes, there really is no time to waste; urgent action must be taken so that young people, our future generation, have the best possible chances of living long, healthy lives.”
Professor Kamlesh Khunti, professor of primary care diabetes and vascular medicine at the University of Leicester based at the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: “It is disappointing that younger people are not getting the annual checks which are simple yet can pick up devastating complications early. There are large variations between practices resulting in people receiving substandard care.
“We are seeing a rise in type 2 diabetes but this is not just down to an increase in obesity, it is also due to more proactive screening for the condition thanks to health checks.”
The audit also showed that the NHS displays unacceptably wide variation in its performance on diabetes across England and Wales. As few as one in four people with diabetes (24.8 per cent) get the eight care processes they should get, but in some place local NHS bodies manage to achieve rates of 80.6 per cent.
The NDA is the largest annual clinical review in the world and integrates data from both primary and secondary care sources.