The Healthier Lives: Diabetes, Hypertension and NHS Health Check tool allows members of the public and clinicians to ‘see how your GP practice or CCG compares’ to others across the country in providing good blood sugar, BP and cholesterol control in diabetes patients.
But GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey warned that publicly ranking practices could easily demoralise them instead. He stressed it was important to look at the information within the context of the population a practice is serving.
An interactive ‘heat map’ highlights CCG areas that are providing worse care than the national average as red and areas that are better as green for each of the three treatment targets. Those which match the average are marked orange.
PHE said the tool had been designed to help local areas ‘understand their local picture and improve services’.
CCGs and practices ranked
CCGs are ranked based on how many diabetes patients receive 'good' control in the three target areas. According to PHE, ‘nowhere is meeting all three targets well’. On average across the country, all treatment targets are met for just one in three (36%) patients.
Wigan Borough CCG ranks first for overall provision of all targets, with 48% of diabetes patients receiving good care for all three. Practices are also ranked within each CCG.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the tool would help doctors pinpoint problem areas to help drive them to improve services. He said: ‘We know that diabetes can have a devastating impact on people and we want everybody to get excellent care and support, regardless of where they live.
‘This data will help doctors and nurses see at a glance where the problem areas are so improvements can be targeted. This will not only benefit patients but also help to save valuable NHS funds.’
Estimates put diabetes prevalence across the UK as high as 10% by 2034. PHE chief knowledge officer Professor John Newton said: ‘We need to create a sense of urgency in dealing with these future health problems which are facing our communities.’
Dr Vautrey said: ‘It depends on how those who look at the data use the information. If it becomes another stick to beat practices with, it will become very demoralising. If it’s seen as a supportive tool to promote discussion and support and encouragement it could be of benefit, but it very much depends on how organisations like the CQC and NHS England use it in the future.’