Evaluating the impact of an enhanced primary care diabetes service on diabetes outcomes: A before-after study

Diabetes is an ambulatory care-sensitive condition and a high quality primary care or risk factor control can lead to a decrease in the risk of non-elective hospitalisations while ensuring continuity of care with usual primary care teams. Aims and methods In this before and after study, eight primary care practices providing a newer enhanced diabetes model of care in Leicester UK, were compared with matched neighbouring practices with comparable demographic features providing a more expensive integrated specialist—community care diabetes service. The primary outcome at twelve months was to demonstrate equivalence in non-elective bed days. The enhanced practices had primary care physicians and nurses with an interest in diabetes who attended monthly diabetes education meetings and provided care plans and audits. The control practices provided an integrated primary-specialist care service. Results The difference between the mean change in the non-elective bed days from baseline and at follow up in core and enhanced practices was not statistically significant (mean = 2.20 per 100 patients, 95% CI = −0.92 to 5.31 per 100 patients, p = 0.14). The analogous change for first outpatients’ attendance were 0.23 per 100 patients (95% CI = −0.47 to 0.52 per 100 patients p = 0.92) and for diabetes related complications admissions was 0.30 per 100 patients (95% CI = −0.85 to 1.45 per 100 patients p = 0.55). Conclusion A model of enhanced primary care based diabetes care appears unlikely to increase hospitalisations, outpatients’ attendance or admissions for diabetes related complications.