Researchers from the University Medical Centre, in Utrecht, examined outcomes in 397 patients whose diabetes care was transferred from a GP to a practice nurse.
The patients were treated at one of five general practices in the Netherlands.
The researchers found that patients' mean HbA1c levels fell from 6.8% to 6.5%. In addition, mean LDL cholesterol levels fell from 3.2mmol/L to 2.7mmol/L and the mean ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol fell from 4.5 to 3.7.
Nurses were also more likely than GPs to take measurements of HbA1c, systolic blood pressure and lipid levels and to assess overall health and foot health annually.
The researchers suggest that transferring care to nurses may mean patients are given more time for individualised treatment.
‘Delegating diabetes care from a GP to a practice nurse might be a solution to deliver high-quality diabetes care in an era in which this care becomes more complex and time consuming,' they said.
‘The implementation of the activities of a practice nurse is relatively easy, with the use of written protocols and regular consultations between practice nurse and GP.'
Primary Care Diabetes 2009;3:165-171
- For the full version of this story read next week's Independent Nurse dated 2 November