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Diabetes wrongly diagnosed for thousands

2 March 2011

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Tens of thousands of people in England have either been told they have the wrong kind of diabetes or that they have the disease when they do not, research has shown.

The Royal College of GPs and NHS Diabetes said substantial evidence has been uncovered to show that around 100,000 people are being misdiagnosed with diabetes, or are being miscoded or misclassified on GP lists.

The organisations compiled a report on the figures, saying that for every 500 people identified as having diabetes on a GP register, around 70 would have to be re-examined to check for the mistakes.

They said around 50,000 people have been told they have the wrong type of diabetes, such as being told it is Type 1 when it is actually Type 2. Around another 50,000 have been told they have diabetes when they do not.

Some of the errors are caused by mistakes made when entering information but some are down to a lack of understanding among doctors or other staff, the report said. Such errors can have a “considerable impact on patient care” while “accurate diagnosis is critical for the appropriate treatment for the person with diabetes”.

It said the most widespread misunderstanding among health professionals was changing somebody’s diagnosis from Type 2 to Type 1 when they go on to insulin, adding: “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.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

NHS Diabetes

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“Typical of the NHS, based on my experience” – Ramona Silipo, Kettering

“It is a disgrace that so many people are misdiagnosed. I am a case who was misdiagnosed. As a doctor retired i knew they were wrong” – Erina Herrick, Cookham