Healthcare watchdog survey of patients suggests NHS is meeting Government standards on diabetes check-ups

The majority of people with diabetes say they receive annual check-ups to assess whether their condition is under control, according to the findings of a survey released today (Wednesday) by the Healthcare Commission

The majority of people with diabetes say they receive annual check-ups to assess whether their condition is under control, according to the findings of a survey released today (Wednesday) by the Healthcare Commission.

However, the findings also showed that people with diabetes need to be offered more help by local services to manage their diabetes themselves, particularly throughin access to education courses and while in hospital.

The survey, carried out last autumn, is the largest ever of people with diabetes - over 68,500 people responded from across England. It also involved the participation of 1,500 general practices and all 152 primary care trusts (PCTs).

In 2001, the Government published a National Service Framework for people with diabetes, highlighting twelve standards of care for delivery. The survey asked about the experiences of people with diabetes in relation to key aspects of the framework as well as a range of issues identified by them as being important. The survey included questions on diagnosis, check-ups, tests, self-management, psychological support, education, information and training.

Almost all respondents said they had an annual check-up to assess their condition. Most respondents said they had been tested for complications in the last twelve months. This included checking blood pressure (98%), long-term blood glucose levels (91%), weight (91%), and cholesterol (89%).

These are positive findings, but others areas show room for improvement. The survey shows that only 11% of respondents had attended an education course on diabetes and how to live with the condition, yet one in four
people who had not been on such a course said they wanted to attend one.

It is important that people are aware which type of diabetes they have as different types require different care. The Commission found 17% of people with diabetes did not know if they had Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

The survey also showed that more could be done to improve the care that people with diabetes received while in hospital.

Of the 19% of respondents who had been admitted to hospital in the last 12 months (not always for their diabetes), the majority (68%) said that all of the staff were aware they had diabetes. However one in ten said that ‘none’
of the staff provided what they needed to manage their diabetes.

The survey also asked about the suitability of the food served to people with diabetes while in hospital. Eleven per cent of inpatients with diabetes said that they ‘rarely or never’ received food suitable for them, and nine per cent that they ‘rarely or never’ received food at a suitable time to help them manage their diabetes.

Jonathan Boyce, the Commission’s Head of Surveys, said: “We are pleased the survey results have shown that nearly all people with diabetes are now getting regular check-ups including screening for complications. This
should be celebrated. The commitment to improve the management of diabetes is reflected in the high proportion of GPs who agreed to participate in this survey.

“What we now need is consistency in the help and support offered by the NHS. It is critical that people with diabetes are able to access all the resources and expertise to enable them to manage the care of their diabetes
more effectively.”

The detailed findings of the survey have been provided to all PCTs to enable them to identify areas of improvement in the services they commission and provide for people with diabetes.

The national report of this survey will be published in a national report in the summer. The findings of the diabetes survey can be found here .

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