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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Thousands mis-diagnosed with diabetes

2nd March 2011

An audit of GP patient records has suggested that up to 100,000 people in England may have been incorrectly diagnosed with diabetes.


The main focus of the probe by the Royal College of General Practitioners and NHS Diabetes has been on five GP practices in Surrey covering about 45,000 patients.

It found that 2% of those diagnosed with diabetes did not have it and another 2% were labelled with the wrong type of diabetes. A further 1% had been incorrectly logged on surgery computer systems.

It meant about 80 out of 1,600 diabetic patients were misdiagnosed.

The report raises concerns that if the errors are replicated across other regions, up to 50,000 people in England are diagnosed with diabetes but do not have it, and another 50,000 are classified with Type 2 diabetes when in fact they have Type 1, and vice versa.

It said some errors were caused at the point when information was entered while others result from a lack of understanding from medical staff including the changing of a diagnosis from Type 2 to Type 1.

“This, potentially, could have a considerable impact on patient care as the guidelines for insulin use in Type 2 are very different from those in Type 1,” said the report.

Diabetes UK said the report drew attention to a serious issue concerning the misdiagnosis, classification and coding of diabetes in the UK.

Clinical adviser Pav Kalsi said: “It is absolutely vital that people are diagnosed correctly so they can receive the best course of treatment and care.”


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