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Audit reveals gaps in diabetes care

A new nationwide audit has identified significant gaps in diabetes care, prompting calls for tougher targets in future versions of the QOF.

The percentage of patients who had received retinopathy examinations continued to lag behind targets even after a year of the QOF, the audit found.

There also remain substantial variation in diabetes diagnosis, with practices registering between 40 and 100 per cent of the predicted number of patients.

Some 61 per cent of patients with diabetes received regular eye examinations in 2004/5, the National Diabetes Audit reported. This was up 14 points on the previous year, but behind the 66 per cent 'minimum percentage' to be on course to hit the Government's 80 per cent target.

Diabetes UK, one of the partner organisations on the audit, said QOF targets should not be regarded as the benchmark for diabetes care.

Zoe Harrison, care adviser for the charity, said: 'We would like them to raise targets so that all those with diabetes get an annual eye examination at least.'

Dr Peter Stott, a GPSI in diabetes in Tadworth, Surrey, said: 'Retinopathy is part of the QOF but to get the points it has to be done with a proper digital camera. It can't be done by a GP or even a local optician, so to some extent GPs can do nothing about it until there is a screening programme in their area.'

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