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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Poor diabetes data means GPs face uphill quality fight

By Joanna

Clarke-Jones

GPs face 'significant challenges' to earn quality pay for diabetes and meet deadlines set in the national service framework for the disease, warns the Government's public spending watchdog.

The Audit Commission investigation of 365 practices in Wales found the quality of data collection was so poor that proper audit was impossible.

The report paints a picture of patchy, ad hoc and unco-

ordinated diabetes services, a lack of specialist support and insufficient patient education.

With the number of people diagnosed with diabetes set to double over the next decade, the report warned that the burden of care would increasingly fall on GPs. But it pointed out that no cash had been ring-fenced to help GPs meet Government targets.

Most practices had a diabetes register but many used it solely for call and recall of patients. Poor data quality meant there was a 'lack of basic infor-mation to monitor the quality of care and outcomes for patients'.

Report author David Thomas, head of policy at the commission, told Pulse there had been some improvements since a similar study two years ago in England and Wales ­ but added that 'significant challenges lie ahead' for GPs.

He said: 'A lot of GPs needed to say they had a register to qualify for chronic disease payments but the quality of information is very poor. There were fundamental bits of the jigsaw missing.'

Dr Kamilla Hawthorn, a Cardiff GP who runs a diabetes awareness programme for ethnic minority patients, said 'We are sorely limited by a lack of funding and resources. The money has to come from somewhere.'

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