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Br J Gen Pract. 2004 Jul;54(504):531-5.

The prevention of type 2 diabetes: general practitioner and practice nurse opinions.

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Swansea Clinical School, University of Wales Swansea.



Primary prevention of type 2 diabetes is now possible with lifestyle or pharmacological interventions in people who are at risk. Primary care would seem to be the legitimate setting for this to take place.


To explore the views of general practitioners and practice nurses about the detection and management of people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


Qualitative study.


One local health board area in Wales.


General practitioners and practice nurses participated in multi-professional focus groups, and opinions of participants were analysed into themes and sub-themes according to focus group content analysis methodology to search for 'markers of text'.


Participants from 21 practices were involved. Participants' opinions on the detection and management of individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes were polarised into those who considered these activities inappropriate for primary care and those who were already engaged in the detection, management and follow-up of these individuals. For the former, existing workload, the questionable role of primary care as a 'screening service', lack of resources, and conflict and concern about increasing specialisation were given as justification. Those already engaged in these activities emphasised their importance but were also concerned with the lack of available resources. Other concerns were the perceived low motivation of patients to modify their lifestyle and the unnecessary medicalisation of the precursor conditions of impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glycaemia. The prevention of type 2 diabetes was seen as largely the responsibility of other agencies such as health promotion and education.


The often strongly held views about this topic are at least partly influenced by current pressures on primary care. To make the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes a reality, either practitioners need to be motivated and resourced to carry out preventive strategies or alternative methods must be identified.

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