Diabetes care has improved in the last six years across three key treatment targets in England and Wales, according to new figures published by the NHS.
The National Diabetes Audit 2015-16, published on January 31, revealed that people with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are meeting targets more often for blood pressure, blood glucose control and cholesterol – the three recommended treatment targets from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
“Achieving treatment targets is central to staying healthy with diabetes,” said Dr Bob Young, a consultant diabetologist and clinical lead for the audit. “GP and specialist services need to work together and all aim for the level of the best. Everyone with diabetes should be confident they are getting high quality care.”
There are a number of reasons people with diabetes are improving their health. Technology innovations in devices such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors enable better blood sugar control, while structured education courses such as the Low Carb Program are helping people with type 2 diabetes (and even some with type 1 diabetes) modify their diet and lifestyle.
The audit also found that there is still some variation in care depending on where people live in England and Wales,
Eleven per cent of people with type 1 diabetes were found to be receiving the correct treatment targets in some areas; in other places that rose to 34 per cent.
The figures were better for those with type 2 diabetes, although the NHS Digital report said there was a 16 percentage point variatio, from 33 to 49 per cent, across localities.
Another salient observation from the audit was that the variation in care given by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) was matched or exceeded by variation between general practices.
“What’s striking about this audit is how large some of the differences are between GP practices and between specialist services,” added Young.
“High achieving services are often found in localities serving socially deprived or ethnically diverse communities. This shows that patient characteristics are not a barrier to good care.
Older people with diabetes were more likely to achieve all three treatment targets compared with younger people.
The audit also showed that the number of people being offered the chance to go on structured education increased significantly among people with type 2 diabetes with 82 per cent asked to attend a course. But only 39 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes were provided with this opportunity.

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