GPs' QOF work has increased diabetes life expectancy

Practices' efforts to hit QOF targets has driven clear improvements in diabetes care, GP leaders have said, after a study found life expectancy for patients with type 1 diabetes is just 11 to 13 years less than for a person without the condition.

Tickbox: QOF targets have improved diabetes care
Tickbox: QOF targets have improved diabetes care

Research on 25,000 Scottish patients suggests the difference in life expectancy has halved in the last few decades, with studies in the 1970s finding type 1 diabetes cut 27 years off the average lifespan.

‘Diabetes can have a major and sometimes devastating impact on people's lives, but the hard work that GPs and their practice teams have been doing over recent years is clearly having an impact,’ GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told GP.

‘QOF has supported practices delivering high quality care consistently provided wherever patients live in the UK and this study reflects this, although there is clearly more all in the NHS could do to build on this improvement,’ he added.

Importance of diabetes

Dr Neil Munro, GP and former chair of Primary Care Diabetes Europe told GP that ‘QOF has promoted the importance of diabetes management within primary care and may be partially responsible for the reduction of undetected diabetes’.

Heart disease, diabetic coma and ketoacidosis were listed as the main causes of premature death in the study, carried out by the University of Dundee.

‘GPs can reinforce education around the risks of hyperglycaemia and diabetic coma. In addition we can actively manage cardiovascular risk and encourage exercise in this group,’ said Dr Munro.

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