Warnings about varying levels of diabetes care across England

Wed, 23 May 2012
Current levels of diabetes care by the NHS across England have been described as a postcode lottery due the huge differences in quality of care, with primary care trusts (PCTs) being blamed for major failings.

In some areas, the report by the National Audit Office (NAO) showed that just six per cent of diabetics were receiving the proper level of care as compared with the 69 per cent recorded in the highest-achieving PCTs. However, it was also revealed that none of the PCTs were able to provide all nine basic care processes recommended by the Department of Health for lowering the risk of diabetes-related complications, including kidney disease, blindness and amputation. The PCTs at Swindon and Mid Essex were the worst, with less than nine per cent of diabetes patients being offered the nine tests.

It also claimed that the NHS did not really understand how much treating diabetes cost at a local level, hindering its performance in delivering diabetes care in the best way possible and not offering value for money.

The number of people in England which die of preventable diabetic complications is 24,000, a figure which could be significantly reduced if the signs of complications were spotted early.

The report said "The Department [of Health] holds information to assess performance but there is a lack of accountability for PCTs who fail to ensure that the recommended standards of care are met."

It added "People with diabetes require regular review of clinical indicators of disease progression."
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