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Are general practice characteristics predictors of good glycaemic control in patients with diabetes? A cross-sectional study

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Finding ways to better care for people with diabetes and other chronic conditions is a priority for the Australian health system. It is notable that five of the nine national health priority areas established by Australian governments1 are chronic conditions (diabetes, mental health, asthma, arthritis, obesity and dementia). Increasing survival of patients with cancer (one of the three other priority areas, together with cardiovascular health and injury prevention) means that this could also be considered a chronic condition.

Diabetes is one of the fastest growing chronic conditions in Australia, with National Health Survey reports showing an increase in prevalence from 1.3% in 1989–90 to 4.5% in 2011–12.2 This increase is probably linked with the ageing of our population, rising levels of obesity, and greater life expectancy for those with diabetes.2 Diabetes expenditure is also growing rapidly, with the annual costs (after adjusting for inflation) rising from $811 million in 2000–01 to $1507 million in 2008–09, an average annual growth rate of 10%.2

Recent studies have shown that there are opportunities for improving care for those with diabetes. For example, the CareTrack Australia study, which explored the appropriateness of the care provided in general practice, found that…

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