Community screenings could increase early diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes according to research by the UEA

26 March 2019, 16:46 | Updated: 26 March 2019, 16:49

Nurse giving a patient a diabetes test

Research by the UEA has found that screenings for Type 2 Diabetes in community pharmacies could increase early diagnosis.

The University of East Anglia has been working alongside Boots UK to test the cost-effectiveness of screenings for Type 2 Diabetes.
More than three million people in the UK were diagnosed with diabetes in 2014 and there was an estimated 590,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes.
The estimated cost of type 2 diabetes to the NHS in 2011 was £8.8bn. The cost of diabetes to the NHS is expected to rise from 10 per cent to 17 per cent between then and 2035 - with one third of this being due to complications of the disease.
They found that screenings in community pharmacies would increase diagnosis and save the NHS money.
Professor David Wright from the UEA's School of Pharmacy told Heart:
"This study shows that screening though community pharmacies is no more costly or less effective than undertaken through other routes.
For such services to be cost-effective however, we also need to intervene in those identified as 'high risk' to prevent progression to diabetes.
This is a natural addition to the diabetes screening process and, with appropriate funding, is something which community pharmacists can 
effectively do to contribute to the public health agenda."
Early identification and treatment of diabetes is known to reduce the incidence of complications. Screening services increase the number of diabetes diagnoses and results in cases being identified 3.3 years earlier on average.
The researched was done across two pilot areas in Leicester and Surrey with 328 people taking part over a six month period.
They found that the cost per test and identification rates in patients were similar to those reported through medical practices for type 2 diabetes.
Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots UK told Heart: 

"This research highlights that there is a real opportunity for pharmacies in the UK to offer community based type 2 diabetes screenings and continue to support the services offered in GP practices."