Diabetes is the fastest growing health threat of our times with the number of people living with diabetes doubling since 1996. It is estimated that if nothing changes there will be over 5 million people in the UK with diabetes. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1, more commonly linked to genetic factors that can be triggered by a viral or other infection and Type 2, which usually affects middle aged to older people and is linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight.
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in County Durham and Darlington have agreed that Diabetes care is a priority area. They have worked closely together with clinicians in primary and secondary care, patients, carers and their families in order to understand what needs to happen so that people living with diabetes keep well and live life to the full.
By 2017 County Durham and Darlington will have a new community based diabetes service that places the patient at its core. This will be a seamless service, from local clinics and GPs, through to hospitals which will support and enable individuals to take more control of their health.
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Diabetes care is an area that the Clinical Commissioning Group has invested a significant amount of time and resources in understanding and developing an approach to improve diabetes healthcare overall. During 2014/15 a full review of the diabetes pathway took place resulting the development of a new pathway.
The new pathway focuses very much on integrated working between GP’s and Practice Nurses based in GP Practices and Consultants and Diabetes Specialist Nurses usually based in hospital. Better joint working between hospital and GP Practice staff was something specifically requested from a wide range of patients who fed their views into the review. In addition a key focus of the new pathway is very much to encourage and facilitate people to have the confidence and ability to self-care where possible, promoting their independence and control over their condition.
During this year, GP Practices will start to benefit from hospital Consultants and Diabetes Specialist Nurses working jointly with named GP’s and Practice Nurses to help them further develop their level of skill in supporting patients with a diagnosis of diabetes. Over time, patients will be seen in a GP Practice, closer to home, and benefit from the upskilled primary care staff as well as continued oversight and care from a Consultant and/or Diabetes Specialist Nurse as needed.
Part of this work is for every GP Practice to facilitate their Lead Diabetes Nurse to attend a diabetes structured education session themselves (if they have not already done so) as an observer, to enable them to grasp the key messages and benefits of attending such a course for the patient themselves. It is anticipated that this will help Practice Nurses further promote and motivate patients to attend.
DDES Clinical Commissioning Group will be monitoring the successful implementation of the new approach and this will include monitoring anticipated increased uptake to structured education sessions for patients with diabetes.
Specifically, over the next 5 years our aim is to increase the uptake of structured education to 75% to facilitate the independent management of the patients’ condition. Should this result in a need to expand the current provision of structured education opportunities for patients, this will be considered through the Diabetes Governance Board which operates across County Durham and Darlington.