Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Developing a district diabetic register.

British Medical Journal 1992; 305 doi: (Published 12 September 1992) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1992;305:627
  1. S. D. Burnett,
  2. C. M. Woolf,
  3. J. S. Yudkin
  1. Department of Medicine, University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, Whittington Hospital, London.


    OBJECTIVES--To compile a district wide diabetic register of all diabetic patients registered with general practitioners in the catchment area of a single district general hospital and to compare different approaches to identifying patients. DESIGN--Information for a register was obtained from general practitioners' practice registers, the Prescription Pricing Authority, and hospital diabetic clinic records. SETTING--Catchment area of an inner London district general hospital with a large diabetic clinic. SUBJECTS--All patients with a diagnosis of diabetes resident in or attending general practitioners or hospital clinics in the district or its catchment area. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Prevalence of diabetes, population of patients elicited by different approaches, proportion attending the local district general hospital, cost of using prescription returns for identifying diabetic patients. RESULTS--4674 patients with diabetes were identified from all sources of information, which corresponds to a mean of 22.4 patients per general practitioner and the prevalence of known diabetes of 1.17%. 39.4% of patients identified had Prescription Pricing Authority returns and 42.8% of patients appeared on practices' diabetic registers. Only 56.5% of patients identified attended the district general hospital. For practices where all sources of information were available, practice registers included 60.4% of all patients, and prescription returns and the clinic register identified 64.9% and 40.6% respectively. The cost of using prescription returns to identify patients not detected in other ways was 6.37 pounds per patient. CONCLUSION--The task of developing district diabetic registers may prove, even in one cross sectional attempt, a major task in many inner city health districts.