Diabetics call for more help with conditionBut biggest survey reveals most have annual checks

11 April 2007

The largest ever survey of diabetes care in England has found most diabetics receive an annual check-up, but many would like more help to manage their condition.

Health watchdog the Healthcare Commission today released the results of a survey of 68,500 people and found fewer than 1 per cent had never had an annual review to check their condition was under control.

Questionnaires were sent to almost 125,000 diabetics aged 16 and above by their local primary care trust (PCT) last autumn and more than half (55 per cent) responded.

Of those, 73 per cent said they were given the "right amount" of verbal information when they were diagnosed although that figure fell to 57 per cent for those who felt they were given the "right amount" of written information.

Different medications

Although almost half (47 per cent) agreed a care plan to manage their diabetes every 12 months, 40 per cent said they were rarely given the chance to discuss different medications.

Less than half (45 per cent) said they were given personal dietary advice and only a third (34 per cent) were "almost always" given the chance to discuss the benefits of physical activity.

Although information varied, three-quarters of respondents (75 per cent) said they knew enough to manage their diabetes. Only 7 per cent said they would like to know "a lot more".

Some 11 per cent had participated in an education course to help them and a quarter (26 per cent) of those who had not been on a course said they would like to attend one.

Standards of care

In 2001, the Government published a National Service Framework for people with diabetes, highlighting 12 standards of care for delivery.

The survey asked about the experiences of people with diabetes in relation to key aspects of the framework.

A full report will be published this summer which will include a list of steps that the Healthcare Commission will be taking to work with trusts which are most in need of improvement.

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.'

Commitment to improve

He added: '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 survey - carried out by the National Centre for Social Research on behalf of the Healthcare Commission - involved the participation of 1,500 general practices and all 152 PCTs.

The Press Association, All Rights Reserved.