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Diabet Med. 2003 Feb;20(2):155-8.

Screening for Type 2 diabetes: is it worthwhile? Views of general practitioners and practice nurses.

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University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.



Screening for Type 2 diabetes does not meet all the criteria for screening, yet is increasingly proposed. The views of health care professionals towards screening for Type 2 diabetes are not known. We set out to explore the attitudes and beliefs held by general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses towards screening for Type 2 diabetes.


Semistructured interviews with 10 GPs and nine practice nurses in eight general practices in North-east England. Data collection and analysis proceeded in an iterative manner in accordance with grounded theory.


Practitioners who perceive themselves to be most aware of the evidence base surrounding screening for Type 2 diabetes are least likely to support its introduction. Those who support screening for Type 2 diabetes hold a 'common sense' viewpoint that earlier detection must be better and believe that patients demand and respect early diagnosis. Practitioners acknowledge a lack of knowledge and skills to promote lifestyle changes. This deficiency is combined with workload issues, contributing towards a medicalized view of diabetes screening.


The belief that screening for Type 2 diabetes is worthwhile is based not on evidence for the effectiveness of screening, but rather on a complex interaction of factors including perceptions of patient desires and an interplay of previous experience and evidence from other sources. Increased resources would be most likely to promote screening in primary care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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