Records of ethnicity needed for diabetes

GPs need to improve ethnicity data for their patients with diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Audit (NDA).

The NDA report for 2005/6 states that 'ethnicity is of crucial significance to understanding diabetes prevalence and service planning'.

The report says that current information on registered prevalence by ethnicity is poor.

Only 36 per cent of records included ethnic origin. But this is still an improvement on 2004/5 when just 17 per cent of records stated ethnic origin.

Significant variations were also identified in the recording of ethnicity across all primary care organisations in England and Wales. It ranged from 0.18 per cent for Gedling PCT in Nottinghamshire to 100 per cent for Dudley Beacon and Castle PCT in the Midlands.

Dr Niti Pall, a GP in Sandwell in the West Midlands who has an interest in diabetes, said: 'Collecting ethnicity data is extremely useful for planning services and identifying prevalence rates. 'In our practice we record the ethnicity of our diabetic patients so that we can identify the patients most at risk, such as South Asians.'

Ethnicity was added to the quality framework in April 2006. One point, worth £124.60 to the average practice, is awarded for recording ethnicity of patients.

The indicator has been criticised; because list turnover is only around 5-7 per cent a year, it would take 20 years to get data on a full practice list (GP, 10 March 2006).

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