NICE wants GPs to identify and test at-risk diabetes patients over 25

GPs should attempt to identify all patients aged over 25 who may be at risk of diabetes and carry out widespread blood testing, NICE has proposed.

Draft guidance from the institute says GPs should use a validated risk assessment tool to identify all adults aged 25 and over on their list who may be at ‘high risk’ of type-2 diabetes.

GPs should then order or carry out blood tests for all those identified.

Significantly, GPs will also be asked to test all patients aged 25 and over of South Asian or Chinese descent with a BMI greater than 23.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health Excellence at NICE said: ‘Type-2 diabetes is becoming a significant heath problem in the UK, but it is preventable and there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition.

‘This guidance will help identify potentially thousands of people who, because of their lifestyle, diet, lack of physical activity or obesity, are at risk of developing type-2 diabetes, and sets out evidence-based interventions that are effective at reducing that risk.’

Where a practice risk assessment tool is not available, a self-assessment questionnaire should be made available to all patients over 25 apart from pregnant women. Patients can also be directed to online diabetes risk-calculating tools.

NICE stressed that people should not be excluded from investigation or intervention based on age.

The guidance also sets out the best ways of encouraging at risk individuals to take steps to reduce their risk and maintain a lower-risk lifestyle.

It also supports the NHS Health Check programme, the national vascular risk assessment and management programme for people aged 40-74 years.

A consultation on the plans will run until 9 January. Final guidance is expected in May.

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