DoH diabetes czar Dr Sue Roberts said moving overbooked annual assessments with long waiting lists out of hospitals and into GP surgeries would mean more comprehensive check-ups, less duplication of tests and a more convenient service.
In her 'Clinical case for change' paper, Dr Roberts said radical thinking was needed in diabetes care because the number of people with the disease in England was expected to increase from the current estimate of 2.35 million to 2.5 million by 2010. But funding for any services must be decided by each PCT and costed from allocated funds. Dr Roberts also pointed out that a recent Healthcare Commission survey showed that only one in ten people with diabetes had been on an education course.
'We need to start providing education on an industrial scale if we are going to move from the traditional didactic approach. We need to work in partnership with patients to give them practical skills to become experts at managing themselves.'
Meanwhile, a report from the expert group MODEL on diabetes, presented to parliament, has claimed that diabetes care is still patchy. Local examples of success were too often due to 'individual entrepreneurship rather than 'designed in' excellence and most were now at risk from NHS deficits and conflicting local priorities.
Professor David Mathews, chair of the group, said: 'Recent initiatives have resulted in improvements, but they're just the start. A job done, tick-box attitude won't solve the diabetes crisis.' He pointed out that since 2004/5 there has only been a 3 per cent rise in the number of patients achieving the target level for blood glucose.
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