GPs to issue information prescriptions for diabetics

GPs to issue information prescriptions for diabetics

A new scheme is being launched jointly by charity Diabetes UK, the NHS and private providers to help people with diabetes to control their condition better.

Under the scheme, if someone is not meeting their targets for blood pressure, cholesterol or blood glucose then an alert will flash up on their GP’s computer to advise the doctor that their patient could benefit from what is being called an “information prescription”.

This will be in the form of a simple one-page document, tailored to each patient that will contain the information they need on how to manage their health better and an action plan for improving their health agreed with their GP. The document can be printed and taken away by the patient.

Various steps the patient could be advised to take include joining a walking group or testing their blood glucose levels more often. Currently, there are around 3.8 million people who have diabetes in the UK.

Diabetes UK said that at the moment, most people with diabetes do not have their condition under control, with only 36% meeting all three targets, which is significantly contributing to the high complication rate.

The charity has worked with primary care IT systems, including EMIS Web, Vision and SystmOne to make it as easy as possible for healthcare professionals to incorporate information prescriptions into their consultations with patients.

Barbara Young, the charity’s chief executive, said: “The reason information prescriptions are so exciting is that they will give people a chance to develop a personal plan with their doctor or nurse which is tailored to their needs.

“These plans can play an important role in empowering people to take control of their condition, which is really vital because people with diabetes only see a healthcare professional for a few hours a year, while the rest of the time it is them who is responsible for managing it.”

There had been a positive response from pilots of the scheme that ran last year.

Dr Stephen Lawrence, diabetes lead for the RCGP and primary care medical advisor for Diabetes UK, said: “It is an invaluable tool that GPs and healthcare teams can easily incorporate during routine care. Having piloted it I know that it works and the feedback I’ve had from patients is that they feel more in control and like having clear goals set out to help them improve their health. This is a revolutionary step in diabetes care.”  

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, said: “The personal cost to individuals and the financial cost to the NHS of diabetes complications are immense.

“Information prescriptions are a really positive development that will enable primary care to help people with diabetes better understand and take ownership of their diabetes, and so empower people to avoid developing complications in the long term.”

by Adrian O'Dowd,

OnMedica, Tuesday 27 January 2015

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