The recent National Diabetes Audit report on care processes showed that while rates were improving, 36 Primary Care Trust (PCT) areas in England recorded fewer than half of their patients as having had all their annual GP checks.
In one PCT; just 16 per cent of patients received all nine checks, which include assessment of blood pressure, feet and blood sugar. At the other end of the scale, one PCT reported 71 per cent of patients receiving all their checks.
In Welsh local health boards, the percentage varied between 51 to 65 per cent.
The report also showed that younger patients below the age of 55 were less likely to have had all of the checks compared to older patients.
The variation by region and age may partly be due to patients not attending appointments but may also reflect the amount of care provision offered in some areas.
The report is managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre in partnership with Diabetes UK and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. It looked at care processes recorded by 83 per cent of GP practices in England and 49 per cent of practices in Wales between January 2010 and March 2011.
Dr Bob Young, clinical lead for the audit, said: “The small overall improvement is welcome but quite insufficient. The high performing localities show that this core essential care can and should be delivered much more reliably.’
Anna Morton, Director of NHS Diabetes added: “We are urging healthcare providers to address the regional variations in diabetes care checks highlighted by this report as a matter of priority.
“Every person with diabetes should be receiving all of the nine care checks as a routine part of their care. To not do so could result in avoidable complications such as foot amputations or blindness, which early detection can prevent.
“NHS Diabetes has a team of diabetes and commissioning experts who work with clinicians and managers in primary care to raise the standards of care for people with diabetes. If local NHS organizations recognize from today’s report that they need to address their diabetes services, we will help review improvement plans.”
The report can be viewed at: