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BACKGROUND: The Enhanced Primary Care package, introduced in 1999, included an item number for multidisciplinary care plans. There has been little research into what is contained in care plans. This study investigated what general practitioners documented in care plans for their diabetic patients. METHODS: A retrospective audit of care plans was conducted as part of a larger audit that evaluated the impact of multidisciplinary care plans on the care of patients with type 2 diabetes. The subjects were GPs and their diabetic patients with care plans. RESULTS: The care plans of 230 patients, identified by 26 GPs, were audited. Most GPs used a template to document care plans and the nature of the template influenced the content. There was limited information documented in care plans. DISCUSSION: Simplification and consistency of care plan templates would assist the care planning process and encourage better documentation. Appropriate GP education is required to support this.