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New online league table ranks GP practices on diabetes care

A new website has been established by Public Health England (PHE) that provides an interactive comparison of diabetes across the country.
The website, called Healthier Lives: Diabetes, Hypertension and NHS Health Check, allows users to compare, using an interactive map, where their area ranks for diabetes care. It also provides the percentage of diabetes patients who have their blood glucose under control.
Jeremy Hunt, health secretary, said that ‘this data will help doctors and nurses see at a glance where areas are so improvements can be targeted. This will not only benefit patients but also help to save valuable NHS funds.’
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC), however, expressed concerns as to the validity of the comparisons. The council said that the comparisons could be developed to reflect that some practices had a greater number of students or homeless people. Some practices have a higher proportion of these “atypical” populations, which significantly affects the statistics surrounding their diabetes care.
On the whole, the response to the website was positive. Commentators described it as promoting an urgency in the way diabetes treatment is approached, and providing a means to target the most problematic areas.
There were, however, reservations. Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the GPC, explained that “if it becomes another stick to beat practices with, it will becomes very demoralising. if it’s seen as a supportive tool to promote discussion and support and encouragement it could be of benefit.”

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