A comparison of follow-up rates of women with gestational diabetes before and after the updated National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance advocating routine follow-up, and the association with neighbourhood deprivation

Sebastian Walsh, Mahmoud Mahmoud, Htwe Htun, Sheena Hodgett, David Barton


Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) occurs in one in every 23 UK pregnancies. GDM identifies the mother as high-risk for development of type 2 diabetes. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published updated guidance in February 2015 recommending routine follow-up of women with GDM.

Aims: This cohort study compared follow-up rates of women with GDM before and after the updated guidance. We also investigated for an association between follow-up rates and deprivation.

Methods: Participants were identified from the database of the GDM service of two English hospitals and were organised into two cohorts: ‘pre-guidance’ (2012–2015) and ‘post-guidance’ (2015–2016). Using the recommendations of the NICE guidance as the follow-up standard, we used the hospitals’ computer system to compare follow-up rates of the two cohorts. The English Indices of Deprivation split the country into 32,844 small areas and rank them in order of deprivation such that 1 is the most deprived area and 32,844 is the least deprived. We compared the patients’ postcodes against the English Indices of Deprivation to investigate the relative levels of neighbourhood deprivation of those followed up compared with those not followed up. The Z statistic was used to test for statistical significance.

Results: 535 participants were included (pre-guidance n=306, post-guidance n=229). Baseline average age (pre-guidance 32.2 years, post-guidance 32.5 years), body mass index (30.7 kg/m2, 30.9 kg/m2) and fasting glucose (4.9 mmol/L, 4.8 mmol/L) were all comparable between cohorts. The follow-up rate improved from 60.5% in the pre-guidance group to 69.9% in the post-guidance group. The median deprivation rank of those followed up was 14,565 compared with 13,393 in those not followed up. This difference was not found to be significant.

Conclusion: A higher proportion of women with GDM were followed up with screening for type 2 diabetes after the updated NICE guidance in 2015 recommended routine follow-up. Across the study, over a third of women were not followed up. There was no statistically significant difference in the deprivation levels of those women followed up compared with those not followed up.


diabetes, gestational, cohort studies, health services research, follow-up studies, health equity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15277/bjd.2019.202


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