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Near-patient tests not the answer

Researchers assessing near-patient testing for diabetes have been unable to recommend a wide rollout in primary care.

Despite finding high levels of satisfaction among patients and primary care professionals, they stopped short of recommending widespread use of practice-based HbA1c testing for patients with type 2 diabetes.Their study, published early online by Diabetic Medicine, concluded near-patient testing 'was highly acceptable to patients' and that there may be potential benefits such as time saving, reduced anxiety and impact on patient management. However, they were unable to confirm actual rather than potential advantages.Study leader Dr Margaret Stone, a research fellow in the University of Leicester's department of health sciences, said: 'The evidence from our study would not lead us to recommend widespread adoption of the NPT method in primary care without making other changes in arrangements for the management of patients with diabetes.'Her team collected questionnaire data from 344 patients attending eight GP practices in Leicestershire. A group of 15 patients, seven practice nurses and four GPs was also interviewed. Patients were generally positive about near-patient testing and practice nurses found the equipment easy to use, but GPs interviewed had concerns about costs of the equipment and cartridges.

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