NHS screening plan for type 2 diabetes 'inaccurate'
The NHS programme for screening those at high risk of type 2 diabetes is unlikely to have much impact, an Oxford University study in the BMJ suggests.
It concluded that inaccurate blood tests would give too many people an incorrect diagnosis, while lifestyle changes had a low success rate.
But the director of the NHS programme said its approach was based on "robust evidence".
The programme started last year and will cover all of England by 2020.
Type 2 diabetes leads to 22,000 early deaths every year in England and costs the NHS £8bn.
In the UK, about 3.2 million people have type 2 diabetes and this is predicted to rise to 5 million by 2025.
The UK's National Diabetes Prevention Programme, which aims to identify thousands of people at high risk of developing the condition each year, follows a "screen and treat" approach.
This involves a screening test for pre-diabetes, then tailored treatment or advice on diet and lifestyle to prevent the disease developing.
But after analysing the results of 49 studies of screening tests and 50 intervention trials, University of Oxford researchers said the policy would benefit some, but not all those at high risk.
They also said a population-wide approach to diabetes prevention would be a useful addition.
In the BMJ study, they found that two blood tests - HbA1c and fasting plasma glucose - were inaccurate at detecting pre-diabetes, although they are the only ones available to doctors and patients.
They also found that lifestyle interventions lasting three to six years showed a 37% reduction in relative risk of type 2 Continue reading