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Diabetes: Screening

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans there are for future provision of diabetes screening services in community pharmacies; (290006)

(2) what steps his Department plans to take to encourage commissioning by primary care trusts of services provided by community pharmacies for (a) screening for and (b) treating Type 2 diabetes;

(3) what steps his Department plans to take to provide screening and treatment services for Type 2 diabetes in community pharmacies for hard-to-reach groups.

The Government take its advice on screening matters from the National Screening Committee. It has advised that, while whole population screening for diabetes would not be clinically nor cost effective, targeted screening in a wider context of cardiovascular risk assessment would be effective. We do not have any plans for the introduction and provision of screening for diabetes alone.

However, we have introduced the NHS Health Check programme which will assess people's risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes and will support people to reduce or manage that risk through individually tailored advice. This programme is for the whole population between 40-74 that is not already on a disease register for cardiovascular disease, diabetes or kidney disease.

To ensure that it contributes to tackle health inequalities, the programme has been designed so that the risk assessment element can be undertaken in a variety of settings, including community pharmacy. Phased implementation of the programme began in April and some primary care trusts (PCTs) have commissioned services from community pharmacies.

To help PCTs commission the NHS Health Check programme from community pharmacies, we have been working with a number of organisations, including those representing pharmacy, to develop a number of tools. With the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, a national template has been designed to help PCTs commission the programme from community pharmacy and is available at

In association with Primary Care Contracting, a Primary Care Service Framework has been developed to assist PCTs in commissioning the NHS Health Check programme from a number of providers including community pharmacy and is available at:

Community pharmacists are well placed to support people diagnosed with diabetes to manage their condition effectively and many are doing so. Community pharmacy can provide a range of services from blood glucose testing, blood pressure management, safe use of medicines to providing healthy lifestyle advice.