There has been little research on the impact of quality improvement initiatives on ethnic disparities in diabetes management in the UK.
Population-based, repeated cross-sectional survey of recorded measurements, prescribing and achievement of treatment targets among 4309 patients with diabetes mellitus using electronic medical records from 26 general practices in North-West London from 1997 to 2006.
Proportions of patients having their blood pressure (BP), cholesterol and HbA1c measured and recorded increased over the study period [from 50.6% to 87.0% (P < 0.0001), 17.0% to 76.7% (P < 0.0001) and 32.9% to 74.1% (P < 0.0001), respectively]. However, some ethnic differences remained. Black patients with diabetes were less likely to achieve target BP (<140/80 mmHg) than the white group [2006 age-sex adjusted odds ratio (AOR), 0.65; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.51–0.83]. South Asians were found to have better lipid target control (2006 AOR, 1.57; CI, 1.23–2.00), were more likely to receive oral hypoglycaemic agents (2006 AOR, 2.27; CI, 1.79–2.86) but less likely to receive insulin (2006 AOR, 0.54; CI, 0.42–0.69) than the white group.
Although ethnic disparities persist in diabetes management in this study population, these are starting to be addressed, particularly in the South Asian group. All ethnic groups have benefited from recent quality initiatives in the UK.