Diabetes care in Ireland: a survey of general practitioners

Prim Care Diabetes. 2009 Nov;3(4):225-31. doi: 10.1016/j.pcd.2009.09.002. Epub 2009 Oct 17.


Aim: To investigate the organisation of diabetes care in general practice in Ireland and identify areas for future development.

Methods: Survey of a representative sample of 600 general practitioners (GPs). The questionnaire contained closed and open-ended questions addressing 4 topics; characteristics of the practice, diabetes care delivery, use of services and opportunities for developing diabetes care.

Results: The response rate was 44% (n=262). There were an additional 86 responses to a follow-up shortened version of the survey resulting in a 58% response rate for 9 key questions. The majority of respondents were from an urban (43%, n=112) or a mixed area (39%, n=101) and 19% of practices were single-handed (n=66). The reported prevalence in participating practices was 0.7% for Type 1 diabetes and 2.8% for Type 2 diabetes. Forty-five percent of GPs maintained a diabetes register (n=157) while 53% reported using guidelines (n=140). A formal call recall system was reported by 30% (n=78) with a further 20% (n=54) reporting a regular if informal approach to calling patients for review. With regard to the use of diabetes related services 63% reported direct access to a dietician (n=165), 57% direct access to chiropody services (n=149) and 89% had direct access to retinopathy screening (n=234). There was a significant association between maintaining a diabetes register and other aspects of care delivery such as engaging in formal recall (p<0.001), using guidelines (p<0.001) and a declared special interest in diabetes (p=0.001). Of a number of choices 75% of GPs thought that training was the principal opportunity for improving diabetes care. In response to the open-ended questions GPs cited lack of resources, time constraints and workload as barriers to effective care delivery.

Conclusions: Delivery of diabetes care in Ireland remains largely unstructured. Key challenges to improving diabetes care appear to extend to the system and organisational level of care delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Physicians, Family / education
  • Physicians, Family / standards
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires