AIMS: To perform a systematic review of studies that have assessed the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve healthcare professionals' care of patients with diabetes and to assess the effects of educational interventions targeted at general practitioners' diabetes management. METHODS: A computer search was conducted using the Cochrane Library, PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, Scopus, EMBASE, Informit, Google scholar and ERIC from the earliest date of each database up until 2013. A supplementary review of reference lists from each article obtained was also carried out. Measured changes in general practitioners' satisfaction, knowledge, practice behaviours and patient outcomes were recorded. RESULTS: Thirteen out of 1255 studies met the eligibility criteria, but none was specifically conducted in rural or remote areas. Ten studies were randomized trials. Fewer than half of the studies (5/13, 38.5%) reported a significant improvement in at least one of the following outcome categories: satisfaction with the programme, knowledge and practice behaviour. There was little evidence of the impact of general practitioner educational interventions on patient outcomes. Of the five studies that examined patient outcomes, only one reported a positive impact: a reduction in patient HbA1c levels. CONCLUSIONS: Few studies examined the effectiveness of general practitioner Type 2 diabetes education in improving general practitioner satisfaction, knowledge, practices and/or patient outcomes. Evidence to support the effectiveness of education is partial and weak. To determine effective strategies for general practitioner education related to Type 2 diabetes, further well designed studies, accompanied by valid and reliable evaluation methods, are needed.