People with Type 2 diabetes still unaware of the GP Cycle-of-Care Programme

10th July 2017

Diabetes Ireland welcome the results released today by Dr Velma Harkins from the Midland Diabetes Structured Care Programme Pilot Study. This study reported that complications from type 2 diabetes were reduced by over 80% (eye, kidney and feet complications) and heart-related complications by 96% as a direct result of a more structured approach to caring for people with Type 2 diabetes in GP surgeries in the midlands.

The Midland programme as reported is only available through GP practices signed up to the scheme in the Midlands, however, people with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes who have a medical card or GP visit card, are entitled to 2 GP visits per year under the GP Cycle-of-Care programme. This nationwide programme is up-and-running since late 2015. Private GP patients (paying the GP for their care) should also benefit as GP surgeries have “geared-up” their clinics dedicating specific time, training and staff to diabetes care.

However do people with Type 2 diabetes know about this programme? Dr Anna Clarke comments that Diabetes Ireland, via their helpline telephone number, find that a large number of people with Type 2 are still unaware that they are entitled to this “free” care in their local GP surgeries”. Approximately 80% of GP’s have signed up to the programme and over the last year, Diabetes Ireland has taken hundreds of calls from GP surgeries looking for literature and support tools as they build up their diabetes clinics.

Patients are unaware of what to expect from the programme when they visit their GP and Practice Nurse. Diabetes Ireland produced a booklet “Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes” last year and on the first page described what a patient would expect to receive through this care over the 2 visits per year.

Figure 1: What to expect from a Diabetes Review – look at the centre of the wheel and read outwards.

By moving people into their local GP practices for structured diabetes care, time in hospital clinics would be freed up for management of those with more complicated Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.  Not everyone will be suitable for GP delivered diabetes care but the GP is the ideal person to make that decision.

GP surgeries are busy and people with Type 2 need time to understand diabetes so that they can manage it well. Diabetes Ireland recognising the time pressure on nurses and doctors produced Diabetes Smart” in conjunction with Trinity College. Diabetes Smart is a 55 minute online interactive patient programme consisting of videos, quizzes and visual tools that people can watch and participate in, from the comfort of their own homes. They can watch this programme before or after a GP visit to help them cement and remember what they have been told. Diabetes Ireland with the help of their corporate partners, Astra Zeneca, Janssen, MSD, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi, produced a detailed book called “Living Well with Type 2 Diabetes” and delivered it to GP surgeries. Patients can take this book home and read it in bite-size chunks.

Diabetes Ireland welcome and support all initiatives that help to reduce the risk of blindness, stroke, heart attack, toe and limb amputations. We would like to thank Dr Velma Harkin and her team for their continued commitment to improving the lives of people living with diabetes and encourage other GP practices to follow their lead in auditing their diabetes services.