NHS ‘failing’ on checks for diabetes in city

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a PROGRAMME of NHS health checks is not being carried out in Sheffield - potentially leaving people with serious illnesses going undiagnosed, a charity has claimed.

The city is one of only three areas in England not to give any of the tests for people aged 40 to 74 for the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure during the last financial year, according to Diabetes UK.

The charity said not one person in Sheffield was given an NHS Health Check during 2011/12.

But NHS Sheffield, which oversees Sheffield Primary Care Trust, said there was a ‘robust’ system in place for checking for diabetes, without the need for a formal programme.

Formal checks were launched four years ago by the Department of Health, to detect people with Type 2 diabetes and to identify patients who may be at high risk.

Linda Wood, regional manager for Diabetes UK, said: “People in Sheffield have a right to be angry about the failure of the local NHS to introduce a programme of testing that could help people live longer and healthier lives.

“It means that people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes are missing out on the information and support to enable them to make the lifestyle changes that can prevent it.

“It is also vital that people with the condition are diagnosed as early as possible to reduce their risk of devastating health complications and early death.

“Every person who missed out on being diagnosed last year is at increased risk of amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Sheffield said patients were not missing out on diabetes checks.

She said: “Within Sheffield we have led the way in encouraging GPs to assess patients’ cardiovascular risk through a nationally-recognised citywide initiative to reduce cardiovascular disease, which had a dramatic impact on deaths from coronary heart disease and reducing health inequalities in the city.

“This was the forerunner to the health checks, so in the past our patients were receiving checks very similar to these. Therefore we did not feel the formal programme was the most cost-effective way to tackle health inequalities, which we have always been committed to doing.”

The spokeswoman added: “We are confident that we have a nationally-recognised, high-quality diabetes service in place in Sheffield with a robust programme in place to target those likely to be at highest risk.”