Timeliness of referral of children with new onset type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterised by autoimmune destruction of pancreatic β cells leading to insulin deficiency. Prompt referral to a specialist paediatric diabetes team (PDT) for insulin initiation and further management is important to prevent diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which remains the most common cause of death in this condition.Objective
The aim was to study the timeliness of referrals from general practitioners (GPs) to PDT, of children suspected of having TID.Method
We carried out a survey of the practice of GPs when they suspect TID in a young person, to investigate whether they recognised the need for urgent referral to PDT. In addition, we carried out retrospective case notes review of children diagnosed with diabetes mellitus between January 2005 and December 2014.Results
111/300 (37%) of GPs replied to survey. Of these, 73/111 (65.8%) would have referred promptly to the PDT in accordance with National Guidelines. However, 34.2% would have taken an action that would have led to delay in referral to PDT. 96 children were diagnosed with TID during the audit period. There was a delay in referral in 35 (36.5%) children. 19/35 (54.3%) of these children presented with DKA. Mean duration of delay in presentation to the PDT was 1.8 days. In both survey and audit, the most common reason for delayed referral was GP attempting to confirm the diagnosis by undertaking further diagnostic tests.Conclusions
Our study has identified a modifiable reason for delayed referrals of children with TID.