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Following figures revealed in the National Diabetes Audit that fewer than ten per cent of diabetes patients are offered the whole series of tests in some areas of England, AAH Pharmaceuticals' head of marketing services calls for pharmacy to be given a more proactive role.
I find it astonishing that only two months since I was championing the virtues of pharmacy to help halt the 'avoidable' 24,000 yearly deaths through diabetes I find that the condition has again thrown up more shocking results.
Latest findings suggest that 1.3 million diabetes patients are not receiving crucial and potentially lifesaving health checks which Health Minister Paul Burstow has called 'outrageous' and 'unacceptable'.
While Baroness Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, has stated that systematic changes were needed to ensure that healthcare professionals could concentrate on early intervention, yet again this a role that pharmacy is ideally situated to perform.
But the situation has to be addressed now. We often hear the right messages coming from the Government but the reality is patients are suffering needlessly through a lack of action and clarity.
A recent study, suggesting that pharmacist feedback can cut prescribing errors, has led the DH to urge GPs to work closer with pharmacists to utilise their expertise and feedback. I believe the DH should use similar tactics on diabetes care and make the GP / pharmacist collaboration one that benefits both parties and all stakeholders.
People living with diabetes need to have nine different health checks over a 12 month period designed to spot any early indicators of further complications like infections that can lead to blindness, gangrene or kidney and heart problems.
Pharmacists across the UK are already doing sterling work with diabetes patients on a daily basis, much of it with little or no reward to themselves; so isn't it about time that the government gave pharmacists the tools to take the majority of this workload.
Patients do speak to their pharmacists for advice on medication and managing the condition but that doesn't tackle early intervention.
Surely it makes perfect sense for this role to be filled by every high street pharmacy going forward; you only have to look at how this would be beneficial to secondary care and its budgets to make that decision.