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Younger diabetes patients are not receiving vital checks

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Practice nurses should have better access to diabetes education and training as figures reveal patients under 40 receive fewer vital checks than older patients.

This could be because younger patients' conditions are more difficult to manage or they do not think regular checks are a priority.

In figures from the HSCIC, of approximately 130,000 patients under the age of 40, only 29.1 per cent with type 1 diabetes and 46.3 per cent with type 2 diabetes received eight of the nine care processes recommended by NICE. Patients aged 65 to 79 had the highest rate of receiving eight care processes at 59.9 per cent for those with type 1 diabetes and 66.7 per cent for type 2 diabetes.

Simon O'Neill, Diabetes UK director of health intelligence and professional liaison, said: 'This report highlights that practice nurses have a crucial part to play in making sure people with diabetes are both getting their checks and hitting their treatment targets.

'They are on the frontline and are perfectly placed to ensure that people with diabetes are getting the right care that they need in order to prevent devastating complications such as blindness, amputation and stroke. That's why it's important that nurses have access to good-quality diabetes education and training.'

The annual checks assess the effectiveness of treatment, as well as the risks of other diseases associated with diabetes. These include cardiovascular risk factors serum cholesterol, BMI, and the emergence of early complications through eye screening, foot checks and kidney monitoring.

Clinical lead for the audit Dr Bob Young said: 'We recommend that commissioners, diabetes leads and GP and specialist providers of diabetes care review their results and consider improvements to their systems for delivering effective care to younger people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.'

The National Diabetes Audit 2012-13 covers the care of over two million people with diabetes in England and Wales.

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