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Registers don't aid glycaemic control

Setting up disease registers for patients with type 2 diabetes will not help GPs lower their glycaemic levels, according to a new study.

The national service framework for diabetes demands all practices have a diabetes register by March 2006.

In the first year of quality payments under the new contract practices would earn six points ­ £450 ­ for setting up disease registers for type 2 diabetes, and a total of 27 points ­ £2,025 ­ for lowering HbA1c levels for half its patients on the register to 7.4 per cent or below and 85 per cent of patients to10 per cent or below.

But researchers at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands looked at records of 1,641 patients with type 2 diabetes across 52 practices and found no association at practice or patient level between levels of data recording and HbA1c levels.

The study, published in Family Practice (April), concluded: 'The lack of association between completeness of data recording and control of glycaemia indicates that improved recording is not a valid indicator of good quality of care.'

Dr Peter Tasker, former head of Primary Care Diabetes UK and a GP in King's Lynn, Norfolk, said: 'If the data collection is poor, the chances are the clinical care is poor. Collecting data for a register on a patient shows you're thinking about the patient and improving care. But you're not necessarily improving glycaemic control just by doing that.'

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