Better treatment of cardiovascular disease risk has produced a 5% drop in hospital admissions for angina, heart attacks and bypass surgery in England, figures show.
The introduction of the QOF helped cut cardiovascular related admissions for people with and without diabetes to the same extent between 2004/05 and 2009/10, researchers from Imperial College London found.
But more work on prevention needs to be done in people with diabetes as they were still three to five times more likely to be admitted for cardiovascular problems, the researchers said.
Admissions for stroke did not change over the five-year study period and percutaneous coronary interventions rose for all patients, with or without diabetes, according to the study, published online by Diabetes Care.
Several factors, including better treatment standards and control of risk factors, and smoking cessation success, could help explain the drop, the researchers said.
They concluded: 'These national data show a considerable decline in hospital admission rates for angina, acute myocardial infarction, and coronary artery bypass surgery.'
Dr Alex Bottle, study leader and lecturer in medical statistics at Imperial, said: ‘Treatment for diabetics has improved quite a lot but there's still a lag behind people without diabetes.'
Dr Terry McCormack, a GP in Whitby and council member of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said the results were good news but showed diabetic patients needed particular attention: ‘We need to tackle risk factors in diabetes more aggressively early on and the priority should be their cardiovascular risk factors. The first drug any diabetic should be on is a statin.'