There are 2.9 million people in the UK living with diabetes, but many are missing out on vital and potentially life saving health checks according to figures released by the National Diabetes Audit for England.
Guidelines from the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) suggest primary care trusts should ensure diabetes patients routinely undergo a series of nine different tests every 12 months. These include blood pressure, cholesterol, checks of the eyes and feet and blood glucose levels.
Routine testing will identify the early signs of complications that can develop as a result of diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart problems and infections that can lead to gangrene and an amputation. However, according to the audit, some trusts are testing fewer than 10% of patients.
Diabetic complications are too common yet can be avoided with early intervention
The figures suggest 967,000 diabetes patients in England were not given all nine tests and if this figure is representative across the UK it could be more than 1.3 million, according to Dr Bob Young, the clinical lead of the audit.
Dr Stephen Lawrence of the Primary Care Diabetes Society said: “It is a concern if patients are developing complications and suffering when all it needs from our point of view is a reorganisation of the services.”
Gwen Kirby-Dent, a solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors’ Clinical Negligence Unit said: “Diabetic complications are too common yet can be avoided with early intervention. Straight forward but vital tests can help prevent unnecessary blindness or a limb amputation. It is essential that trusts review their services to ensure patients receive the correct testing at the appropriate time.”
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