Aims/hypothesis: Our aim was to investigate trends in provision and outcomes of care by socio-economic status among patients with diabetes in Salford, United Kingdom.
Methods: Salford is a deprived urban area in North West England. Data for people with diabetes who were younger than 20 years of age (4034 patients in the year 1993 and 5671 by the year 2000) were extracted from the Diabetes Information System. Age-standardised means, proportions and attainment of targets were calculated for: processes of care indicators, intermediate outcomes and prescribing of preventive drug treatments in 1993 to 1994 and in 2000 to 2001 by quintiles of Townsend deprivation score. We did comparisons of means and proportions using age-adjusted linear regression and of trends using generalised estimating equations. Rate ratios for first microvascular and first macrovascular complication were estimated from proportional hazards models.
Results: Marked improvements occurred in all indicators. For patients managed in primary care, blood pressure and cholesterol measurement increased from 53% to 64% (p<0.001) and 27% to 61% (p<0.001) respectively; whilst mean systolic blood pressure decreased from 147 to 140 mmHg (p<0.001) and cholesterol concentrations from 6.0 to 5.1 mmol/l (p<0.001). Mean HbA(1c) increased from 7.8 to 8.1% (p<0.001). Prescribing of aspirin, anti-hypertensive and lipid-lowering drugs increased greatly. Trends varied little by socio-economic status. Patients from more affluent areas generally received more frequent clinical monitoring and preventive treatments, and had a lower BMI (29.5 vs 30.2 kg/m(2); p=0.009) and HbA(1c) (7.8 vs 8.2% p=0.006), though risks of first microvascular or macrovascular complications were similar.
Conclusion/interpretation: Improvements in process and outcomes of care are possible for patients from all socio-economic groups. Socio-economic deprivation does not preclude high quality diabetes care.