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diabetes4February 3 2016

The National Diabetes Audit has found that three quarters of diabetes patients are now meeting blood pressure targets. However, there are concerns that younger adults with diabetes may not be accessing annual health checks to help monitor their condition and maintain health levels.

Health and Social Care Information Centre data shows that 76.4% of type 1 and 74.2% of type 2 diabetes patients achieved the target blood pressure levels of less than or equal to 140/80 mmHg in 2014-15. In 2009-10, the figures were 68.5% of type 1 and 60.8% of type 2 patients.

In addition, 89.0% of patients with type 1 and 96.1% with type 2 diabetes received a blood pressure check in 2014-15. “These latest figures reverse the downward trend over the last five years, which saw the number of checks being recorded drop to their lowest figures in 2013-14 (87.0% of Type 1 and 94.9% of Type 2 diabetes patients),” said HSCIC.

Blood pressure monitoring is one of the eight NICE recommended care processes for diabetes. However, among people aged under 40, just 27.3% of with type 1 diabetes and 40.8% of with type 2 diabetes are receiving all eight care processes that NICE says they should get.

Diabetes UK’s Chief Executive, Chris Askew, commented: “It is deeply worrying that such a low percentage of younger people with diabetes are receiving all eight of the vital care processes. With this reflecting patterns of previous years, urgent action must be taken to ensure younger people too are given the best chances of good health and don’t continue to be left behind.

“We know that young people may struggle to fit in getting the checks with work and a busy life. But it is vital that commissioners look at ways to enable more young people to have better access to the healthcare services that will help them to manage their diabetes on a day to day basis.

“As the number of people with diabetes continues to soar, mainly fuelled by the massive increase in recent years of people developing type 2 diabetes, there really is no time to waste; urgent action must be taken so that young people, our future generation, have the best possible chances of living long, healthy lives.”

HSCIC said that regional variation showed that the number of patients receiving eight care processes ranged from 24.8% to 80.6% across clinical commissioning groups and local health boards, with the median being 58.7%. The number of patients achieving all three treatment targets ranged from 32.7% to 51.7% across CCGs and LHBs, with the median being 40.1%.

Dr Bob Young, Clinical Lead for the audit, said: “It is encouraging to see that there has been a notable improvement in the blood pressure of diabetes patients. This will help to reduce heart disease, strokes and severe diabetic eye and kidney disease.

“To further improve on these latest results, we would encourage patients to attend invitations for annual care process checks and work with care providers to achieve recommended treatment targets. Equally, we would ask GPs and specialist services to sustain focus on improving blood pressure and blood glucose control.”

Links:

HSCIC announcement

Diabetes UK comment

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