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Your spotlight on local services



Local NHS improves access to courses for diabetes patients


Patients from Hambleton and Richmondshire areas with type 2 diabetes now have better access to educational courses thanks to the local NHS and extra funding. 

The local NHS clinical commissioning group is investing in a local course, ‘Diabetes Today’ which was written and developed by Diabetes Dietitian, Elaine Gill who is based at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton. 

Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing health threat facing the UK, with 700 people diagnosed every day. Left untreated or not managed well, diabetes can result in a range of health complications including blindness, kidney failure, limb amputation, and even death.

The CCG recently received a rating from the NHS England Diabetes Clinical Priority Area Assessment for 2016/17 of ‘requires improvement’ with the main area of development being ‘structured education’ for patients.

Last year NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (the CCG) was successful in bidding for £183,000 of funding to help improve diabetes care for local patients. Since then, the CCG has been working hard to invest this funding in local diabetes services for patients. One of the key priority areas has been to improve access to educational courses for patients with diabetes. The CCG is keen to see the rating improve significantly for patients with the new investment received in 2017.

Dr Beth Marfleet, GP Commissioner and Clinical Lead for Diabetes at the CCG said:

“We listened to and reviewed written feedback from a number of local people with type 2 diabetes in different settings to hear about their experiences. We heard that it can be an anxious time dealing with a new diagnosis of diabetes and they would have valued more time with health professionals to understand how best to manage their condition, particularly soon after diagnosis. People with type 2 diabetes frequently said they would value detailed information about diet and more information about understanding their blood results and how to achieve better control.   

“Previously, only a small proportion of patients with type 2 diabetes attended educational courses and they often had to wait several months for a course after their diagnosis. By that time, they had often gradually learned about their condition by attending multiple appointments with their practice nurse and through their own research. 

“The issue of limited access to courses at particular times of the day was also raised due to distance, work and family commitments. 

“The CCG received very positive feedback from patients who had attended the local course called ‘Diabetes Today’. Information about diabetes is explained in a relaxed, interactive setting by a nurse and dietitian with plenty of time for patients to ask questions. The course includes practical advice on the best way improve diabetes through diet and activity.”

The course was officially accredited in September 2017 by an independent body. From December 2017, the CCG re-launched the ‘Diabetes Today’ course in partnership with the GP Federation, Heartbeat Alliance and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

Clare Ballam, a patient attending the Diabetes Today course said that she found the course “tremendously helpful in learning about this complicated subject”.

Another patient, Sioban Moore said: “Attending the group reduced the fear and added a healthy dollop of common sense. The information was great”.

Elaine Gill, Diabetes Dietitian, Friarage Hospital, Northallerton said: “The aim of the course is to help people with type 2 diabetes feel more confident about managing their condition. We are really pleased that patients will now be able to attend sooner after diagnosis and receive the information they need.

“The Diabetes Today course takes place over two half days and is led by a dietitian and practice nurse. We make sure patients have the chance to really get to grips with their diabetes. The atmosphere is very informal; questions are encouraged; a relative can come along too. We discuss common myths which surround the diet for diabetes, including food labelling, and there are plenty of leaflets and handouts to take away.

“The number of courses held at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and the Friary Hospital in Richmond has tripled since the re-launch meaning that in future patients won’t have to wait so long to receive the advice they need. In the coming year we are planning to extend the service to other community venues further afield within the locality.”

Heartbeat Alliance is now recruiting more practice nurses in the Hambleton and Richmondshire area who will be trained to deliver the course in partnership with dietitians from South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Heartbeat Alliance is now in the process of recruiting practice nurses in the Whitby area and there are plans to expand to more localities in the community across Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby.

Anyone who is interested in attending a course should speak to their practice nurse or GP for more information and a referral onto the course.