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Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of undiagnosed cases of diabetes; and if she will publish this figure annually. (89427)

In 2006, 2.52 million people are estimated to have diabetes. The latest quality and outcomes framework (QOF) results for 2005-06 show that 75 per cent. of this estimated total (1.89 million people) have their diabetes diagnosed therefore there are an estimated 630,000 people who remain undiagnosed. QOF data is published annually.

(1) To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will give advice to primary care trusts on the number of glucose sticks diabetic patients should be prescribed in order to maintain proper control over their blood sugar levels; and if she will make a statement; (91553)

(2) if she will undertake research into the optimum number of times diabetes sufferers of various levels should test their blood; and if she will make a statement.

There are no national clinical guidelines on the number of times a person should test their blood glucose using blood glucose testing strips.

As with any medicine or appliance the responsibility for deciding what treatment is best for the patient rests with the clinician concerned, in consultation with the patient, informed by the patient's clinical history.

Individual need, choice and circumstances dictates the most appropriate form and frequency of testing as, given the clinical nature of diabetes, there are times when it is appropriate for people to test more frequently than is usual for them.

There are two key trials evaluating the efficacy of blood glucose monitoring in the management of diabetes. The Oxford trial, sponsored through the NHS Health Technology Assessment process, is due to report in 2007 and the DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Newly Diagnosed) trial, sponsored by Diabetes UK, is due to report in the winter of 2009.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is also currently reviewing its guidelines for Type 2 Diabetes–Management of blood glucose–which will be published early next year.