Around 100,000 people in England may have been incorrectly diagnosed with diabetes, an audit of GP patient records suggests.
Reviews at five GP practices in Surrey, covering 45,000 patients, found 2% of those diagnosed with diabetes did not have it and another 2% were labelled with the wrong type of diabetes.
Another 1% had been incorrectly logged on surgery computer systems.
Doctors’ leaders insist the errors are unlikely to have damaged patient care.
The Royal College of General Practitioners and NHS Diabetes, who have published the evidence in a report, say the overwhelming majority of people are correctly diagnosed with what is increasingly recognised as “a very complex condition”.
They have published new guidance aimed at improving the way the disease is recorded.
The findings reveal around 80 out of 1,600 so-called diabetic patients were misdiagnosed.
If the same is true in other regions then it is likely that around 50,000 people in England are diagnosed with diabetes but do not have it, and another 50,000 are classified with Type 2 diabetes when in fact they have Type 1, and vice versa.
And for every 500 people with diabetes on a GP register, about 65 to 70 will need to be looked at again for some sort of error.