Mass diabetes screening 'being considered'

Officials are examining whether GPs and the wider NHS should screen the whole adult population for diabetes, with a decision due later this year.

Experts said the case for mass diabetes screening was 'becoming stronger'
Experts said the case for mass diabetes screening was 'becoming stronger'

The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) said it was 'currently working on a report examining the feasibility of a population screening programme for diabetes'.

A decision is due in the autumn.

The committee rejected diabetes screening when it was last reviewed in July 2006, but said the case for screening was 'becoming stronger because of greater options for the reduction of cardiovascular disease and because of the rising prevalence of obesity, and hence type 2 diabetes'.

At the time, the committee found that screening for undiagnosed diabetes and impaired glucose did not meet its criteria to warrant a new programme. The committee considers whether the benefits of screening outweigh the harms.

However, it later approved vascular risk screening in adults over 40 in 2007, which led to the NHS Health Check programme that includes a prediction of diabetes risk.

The NSC advises ministers on which diseases the NHS should screen for, either among the whole population or in specific at-risk groups.

A recent study found the NHS Health Check programme is likely to pick up more cases of cardiovascular disease and diabetes than was first thought.

Researchers estimated that providing 1.4m checks a year would detect at least 51,569 new cases of diabetes and 124,651 cases of impaired glucose regulation.

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