90% of diabetics found by 2010

Up to 90 per cent of diabetes cases in England will be diagnosed by 2010, largely thanks to the quality framework, predicts DoH diabetes czar Dr Sue Roberts.

Speaking at the Diabetes UK annual professional conference in Glasgow last week, Dr Roberts said that although prevalence is expected to increase over the next three years, so will detection rates (see graph).

By 2010, around 5.05 per cent of the population will have diabetes, compared with the current estimate of 4.75 per cent. Dr Roberts said obesity would fuel 60 per cent of this rise and ageing 40 per cent.

‘Even though there will be more cases, we will get 87–90 per cent of the people,’ she told GP. This would leave about 360,000 people undiagnosed.

Quality framework figures from 2005/6 suggest that GPs registered around 75 per cent of diabetes cases, compared with 67 per cent in 2001.

Dr Roberts said she was ‘fairly confident’ of her prediction ‘because of the ongoing systems that are in place because of the quality framework, the campaign to the public by Diabetes UK, and it will be part of the growing discussion on cardiovascular risk in general’.

However, in order for care to improve for patients with diabetes, commissioning must be stronger to prevent specialist skills being lost, said Dr Roberts.

In a report on diabetologists published this month, Dr Roberts said the relationship between primary and secondary care was mostly positive, but that communication and collaboration with PCTs was difficult.

It appears that specialist diabetes teams and budgets cuts are already happening across the UK, according to figures from Diabetes UK. A survey of 162 diabetes specialist nurses showed that 29 per cent reported funding cuts, 18 per cent said posts had been made redundant and 43 per cent said vacant posts had been frozen.

But Dr Roberts said these cuts were not planned: ‘There have been cuts right across the board and they have not been done as part of a strategic plan and therefore it appears as if specialists have been targeted and that’s absolutely not the case,’ she said.

‘Local services can get back on track by using commissioners and following the diabetes commissioning tool kit.’

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