The NHS Information Centre’s range of products and services are all intended to support better clinical practice. The National Diabetes Audit proved invaluable in Salford, Greater Manchester. Dr Bob Young, consultant diabetologist at the city’s Hope Hospital, said the audit highlighted a much smaller number of people than expected in the area were being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can be difficult to spot, and the early signs may be going unnoticed by future patients in Salford. “This could be due to people not knowing about the condition or its symptoms," Dr Young adds. "So as a priority, we are working with the local public health organisation to develop an awareness programme for practices and the wider community."

Variation in general practice

The audit also identified a variation in the standard of support for diabetics among Salford’s 60 general practices. Dr Young confirms that "this was very apparent from the audit and resonated with the views of the Healthcare Commission. Now we have started a practice development programme, targeting those practices identified as underperforming."

A specialist diabetes team now works with these practices, aiming to help them provide and peer-monitor a consistently high standard of diabetes care across the city.

Dr Young is in no doubt that the audit was crucial to progress: "I find the audit very helpful as it gives the whole picture rather than just a local one, so I can compare our performance with other areas of the country. We will certainly use the next audit to help assess whether these two priority programmes have been successful."