In the Irish Midland Health Service Executive (HSE) Diabetes Structured Care Project, additional resources were targeted at general practice in the absence of a local hospital-based specialized diabetes unit. Objective: We assessed the performance of the Midland HSE Diabetes Structured Care programme in 2003, bench-marked against Primary Care Trust (PCT) data from the 2003/2004 National Diabetes Audit for England. Methods: Data on 947 patients (72% of eligible patients) from all 20 general practices participating in the structured-care programme were collected retrospectively over a 12-month period. The data included demographic and clinical variables as well as key process-of-care and intermediate outcome indicators used in the National Diabetes Audit for England. Results: The level of recording of process-of-care measures was near or above the upper quartile for PCTs in England. The proportion of patients with HbA1c concentrations at target levels (<6.5%) in the Midlands HSE project (26.8%) was virtually identical to the upper quartile level for PCTs in England (27.4%). The proportion of patients reaching target total cholesterol levels (<5.0 mmol/l) (54.6%) was close to the mean for PCTs in England (56.6%), and performance with regard to target blood pressure levels was equally poor in both the Midlands HSE (18.0%) and in PCTs in England (20.8%).
Conclusion: Primary-care-led structured care, with relatively limited but well-focused investment, can achieve quality of care for patients with diabetes, comparable to international best practice.