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24 June 2014 09:12
The numbers of diabetes patients receiving eight vital checks varies widely between areas of England
Many people with diabetes are not getting the vital health checks they need to monitor changes to their condition, a charity warns.
Diabetes UK says patients should have eight checks a year but the true number varies significantly between areas.
In some regions only a fifth of diabetes patients are getting all eight checks each year, but in others well over three-quarters (78%) are monitored in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommendations.
Regular examinations are crucial for people suffering from the disease as they can guard against complications that can lead to blindness and amputations, the charity said.
Using the Diabetes Watch online tool, patients can compare the checks they are given to other areas. The data shows that in 27 areas of England fewer than 50% of patients are being checked eight times but there were 25 regions in which 70% or more are fully examined.
Just 18.5% of patients in mid Essex get all eight checks, compared to 78.3% in Stafford. No matter where patients are from it is essential to have pre-existing medical travel insurance when heading abroad.
Diabetes UK chief executive Barbara Young is worried about the variations between areas as she says it is vital patients get all eight checks at least once a year. To have such vast discrepancies is not good enough, she added.
Young said some of the areas in which 70% or more patients are getting all the checks face huge health challenges but they are still managing it so they all should be able to achieve it.
In reality it is something of a postcode lottery whether patients will have potentially devastating consequences spotted in enough time for doctors to be able to do something about them, she said.
She added that clinical commissioning groups should make sure poor-performing areas improve and patients can use the online tool to put pressure on their local NHS Trust to improve.
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