“We agree that mass screening is an excellent way of finding people with previously undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes and those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes but we welcome this new guidance with extreme caution. We consider it to be inappropriate to screen people in a setting such as a Job Centre. Screening must be done with the back-up of proper healthcare professionals, in a health setting and with adequate support in place.
Proper funding needs to be made available to ensure that patients who may be diagnosed or need advice on prevention have the support and time spent with them to explain about their condition and the treatments that may be necessary. Diabetes is too complicated a health issue to just screen, diagnose and then let the patient loose!”
Jenny Hirst, Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) co-chair.
“We welcome this excellent guidance document, which gives strong evidence that identifying people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes is a vital part of preventing the condition and can also help diagnose those who have it earlier so that they can be helped to avoid serious complications developing.
“But we are concerned that while the NHS Health Check programme is great in theory, it has not yet been implemented properly. Only about three quarters of the expected number of people were offered a Health Check last year and only half of these offers were taken up.
“We want to see the recommendations in this guidance to be fully implemented because the number of people with Type 2 is increasing at an alarming rate and it is only through prevention that we will be able to stem the rising tide and cost of Type 2 diabetes. But with responsibility for public health being transferred to local authorities next year, we need to make sure that the progress that has been made does not now fall back and we will keep a close eye on whether these recommendations are implemented. Failure to do so would have grave consequences for the nation’s health and the continuing rise in Type 2 diabetes will threaten to bankrupt the NHS.”
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.
“Screening of adults over 40 and over-25s in risk groups is not a bad idea but needs funding and staffing, however is less sure that GPs should take responsibility for lifestyle advice.
“I wonder if telling people how to live is really general practice? Perhaps the advice should be received before they become ‘at high risk’, for example in school.
“The previous Conservative Government’s selling off playing fields contributed to the problem, and governments continue not to have a Ministry of Food.
“So we await advice on what we should stop doing, on the basis of it no longer being funded. I could probably find a few things!”
Dr Adrian Midgley, GP principal in Exeter and Devon LMC