Identifying additional patients with diabetic nephropathy using the UK primary care initiative

Diabet Med. 2010 Dec;27(12):1372-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03105.x.


Aims: The aim of this study was to use general practice data to estimate the prevalence of diabetic nephropathy within the registered diabetes patients and examine variation in practice prevalence and management performance since introduction of this initiative.

Methods: Reported quality indicators from the Northern Ireland General Practice Quality and Outcomes Framework were analysed for diabetes and diabetic nephropathy prevalence and management in the period 2004-2008. Variation in prevalence at practice level was assessed using multiple linear regression adjusting for age, practice size, deprivation and glycaemic control.

Results: In 2006-2007, 57,454 (4.1%) adult diabetic patients were registered in the denominator population of 1.4 million compared with 51,923 (3.8%) in 2004-2005 (mean practice range 0.5-7.7%). Diabetic nephropathy prevalence was 15.1 and 11.5%, respectively (8688 and 5955 patients). Documented diabetic nephropathy prevalence showed marked variation across practices (range 0-100%) and was significantly negatively correlated with diabetes list size, albumin creatinine ratio testing rates and renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockade use and positively correlated with exception reporting rates. Specifically, for every increase in 100 diabetic patients to a register, documented diabetic nephropathy prevalence reduced by 40% (P=0.003). On the positive side, median albumin-creatinine ratio testing rates doubled to 82% compared with figures in the pre-Framework era.

Conclusions: Implementation of the Northern Ireland General Practice Quality and Outcomes Framework has positively benefitted testing for diabetic nephropathy and increased numbers of detected patients in a short space of time. Large variation in diabetic nephropathy prevalence remains and is associated with diabetes registry size, screening and treatment practices, suggesting that understanding this variation may help detect and better manage diabetic nephropathy.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Creatine / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / complications
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / epidemiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Northern Ireland
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment


  • Creatine