Diabetes patients to be prescribed information

GPs must prescribe patients with information as well as medicines to aid understanding of long-term conditions, experts have said.

MPs have passed an early day motion to improve information provision for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  

The move follows a forum of experts and patient groups to discuss available evidence, including findings from a Diabetes UK ‘Information Jigsaw’ survey of 505 patients that showed 58 per cent fail to understand their diagnosis and 65 per cent of patients are not taking their medicines as prescribed.  

Isle of Wight GP Dr Eugene Hughes, chairman of Primary Care Diabetes Europe, attended the forum. He said: ‘At the diagnosis of diabetes people need a lot of information and the evidence is that there is not enough of the right information or it’s not given at a pace they can handle.  

‘It would be helpful if the information given was standardised.’  

Information prescriptions should be viewed as a concept rather than a physical scrip, he explained, and could take the form of a leaflet, information pack or signposts to support groups such as Diabetes UK.  

Dr Hughes said PCTs should have patient information services in place by the end of the year under the NSF for diabetes.  

‘There is evidence that this has not been met,’ he said.  

County Down GP Dr Colin Kenny, chairman of the Primary Care Diabetes Society, said there are ‘tons of diabetes patient information leaflets’.  

‘Most GP computer systems have them and diabetes UK have lots,’ he said. ‘The problem is that they tend not to be tailored or specific enough.’  

The DoH is currently piloting information prescriptions to see how best to disseminate them. The White Paper, Our Health, Our Say said that everyone with a long-term condition should receive information prescriptions by 2008.   

Key points  

Findings from the Diabetes UK ‘Information Jigsaw’ survey:  

58 per cent do not understand their diagnosis.  

50 per cent feel there is little time to ask questions in consultations.  

65 per cent are not taking medications as prescribed.  

33 per cent do not know why they are on medication.

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