Aims: Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are now responsible for the planning and delivery of health-care services throughout England and Wales. As the 25 PCTs throughout Yorkshire are representative of the national distribution in terms of population structure and socio-economic status, we aimed to address the paucity of information describing the burden of childhood diabetes in primary care and to evaluate the cost implications of insulin pump therapy on individual PCTs.
Methods: We extracted information from a population-based register in Yorkshire, including 1952 patients diagnosed under the age of 15 years from 1990 to 2003. Each patient's postcode was linked to an individual PCT. Incidence rates (per 100 000 patient years) were derived and assessed for evidence of heterogeneity across PCTs and within Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs).
Results: Incidence rates were lower in West Yorkshire (19.1, 95% CI 18.0-20.2) than North-east Yorkshire (20.3, 18.9-21.6), although this difference was not significant (P = 0.20). No significant evidence of heterogeneity in incidence rates was observed across PCTs (P = 0.46). Ninety per cent of all PCTs would expect four to seven newly diagnosed children per year, corresponding to a single general practitioner (GP) referring an individual for diagnosis once every 15 years on average. Assuming 1% of current patients under the age of 15 years with diabetes were to move onto insulin pump therapy, this would impose an additional cost of pound400-1300 per year for each PCT. The average cost was 15% lower for PCTs in West Yorkshire than North and East Yorkshire.
Conclusions: The additional resources required to pay for insulin pump therapy for a small proportion of the diabetes population would be minimal given the potential benefits to these patients of improved control and anticipated reduction in long-term morbidity.