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Care worse for young diabetics

Diabetic patients below the age of forty are receiving fewer vital checks and a lack of treatment compared with older age groups, according to recent figures.

This figures come from the National Diabetes Audit 2012-2013 on the care of more than two million people in England and Wales.

It found that from approximately 130,000 patients under the age of 40, just 29.1% with Type 1 diabetes and 46.3% with Type 2 diabetes  received eight of nine NICE-recommended care processes.

In comparison, patients aged 65 to 79 received the highest rate of the eight care processes, at 59.9% with Type 1 diabetes and 66.7% with Type 2 diabetes.

Clinical lead for the audit, Dr Bob Young, said: “This year's report has shown that there is age inequality for the care and treatment received by patients with diabetes. Younger people are receiving substantially worse routine care and treatment than older patients and yet will live longer with their diabetes. They are therefore most at risk of developing complications that will affect their health and could lead to mortality.

“We recommend that commissioners, diabetes leads and GP and specialist providers of diabetes care review their results and consider improvements to their systems for delivering effective care to younger people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.”

The annual checks gauge the effectiveness of diabetes treatments and assess cardiovascular factors such as:

- Blood pressure (BP)

- Serum cholesterol

- Body mass index (BMI)

- Smoking

- Evidence of complications, including eye screening, foot surveillance and kidney checks

The audit also recorded three NICE recommended treatment targets that should be met for diabetes patients, which included glucose control, BP and serum cholesterol. 

It found:

- Just 14.7% of Type 1 diabetes patients under the age of 40 received all three treatment targets

- In the under 40s age group, just 24.3% of patients with T2DM patients

- Patients aged 80 and over had the highest treatment rates with 25.5% for T1DM and 45.1% for Type 2 diabetes 

-    There were also regional differences amongst patients receiving checks.

The number of patients receiving eight of the care processes ranged from 30.4% to 78% across the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local health boards (LHBs).

The audit process was the largest of its kind and managed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) in partnership with Diabetes UK.

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) commissioned the programme.

You can view the full report at: