Diabetes patients from across Suffolk are receiving “outstanding” care, according to the results of an independent review.
The NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have both received the top rating for 2016/17 following an assessment by an independent panel.
The ratings show that more patients across Suffolk than ever before are getting the support they need to control their diabetes.
They come after new initiatives were introduced across both east and west Suffolk to ensure that around 30,000 patients living with type 2 diabetes get the care and support they need, including the introduction of specialist nurses.
The news is especially significant in west Suffolk, where the CCG has made steady progress after being ranked 209th of 211 CCGs in 2014 and 81st in 2016.
Since then the CCG has taken a number of steps to improve, including:
- introducing a community diabetes service which sees specialist diabetes nurses from West Suffolk Hospital working alongside nurses in 19 GP practices to advise patients how to better manage their condition closer to home and
- training primary care staff to carry out thorough annual checks so they can treat or signpost diabetes patients more effectively.
The ‘outstanding’ rating for the two CCGs is based on two key indicators measured as part of the national NHS Clinical Commissioning Group Improvement and Assessment Framework.
Assessors looked at the number of patients who had achieved NICE-recommended treatment targets in relation to cholesterol, blood pressure and HbA1c, which helps measure blood sugar levels, and the proportion of newly-diagnosed patients who attended education sessions designed to help them successfully manage their condition.
Dr Christopher Browning, chair of NHS West Suffolk CCG, said: “We have put considerable effort into making services for patients better, and we are delighted that this has been recognised.
“Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to unnecessary hospital admissions and, if left unchecked, complications such as heart disease, stroke, visual impairment, kidney failure, and amputation of a foot or toes.
“That is why it is vitally important to monitor patients closely and provide them with the right education to help them successfully manage their condition themselves.
“Despite these excellent results, we are not complacent and will be working hard to improve still further by rolling out our education programmes more widely and ensuring patients have the necessary skills to self-care and stay well for longer.”
Dr Mark Shenton, chair of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, said: “The ‘outstanding’ rating is obviously very welcome, but we mustn’t rest on our laurels and need to continue doing all we can to further improve our results in this field.”
“Diabetes is fast becoming the biggest health threat in the UK and can reduce life expectancy.
“However, if managed correctly, many people can go on to lead happy and independent lives without developing any complications.
“If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your cholesterol, blood pressure and kidney function so that you can make sure you are controlling your condition.
“We’d encourage anyone with diabetes to sign up for one of our nationally-recognised education courses so that they can get all of the information they need to help them do just that.”
Dr John Clark, lead consultant diabetologist at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a great example of joint working between GP teams and the hospital diabetes service to improve care for people with this condition.
“Specialist diabetes nurses from West Suffolk Hospital now attend GP surgeries and see local patients with their practice nurse, helping the GP team improve the management of their patients’ diabetes.
“The hospital nurses also run education courses for all people with newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes and special training courses for Type 1 Diabetes.
“They have had very impressive feedback from patients and GP teams about the positive impact their advice and guidance has had on helping patients and health care professionals manage the condition.”
The diabetes management courses available on the NHS are:
- DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating), which aims to equip those living with type 1 diabetes with the skills to count carbohydrates, self-adjust insulin doses and have more confidence in self-managing their condition.
- DESMOND (Diabetes Education for Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) is for people living with type 2 diabetes, and covers a range of topics including the nature of diabetes, carbohydrates and fats, goal setting and ways of working towards lifestyle improvements.
For more details or to take part in a course, call 01473 704180 in Ipswich and east Suffolk or 01284 713311 in west Suffolk.
For more information about the assessments, visit the MyNHS section of the NHS Choices website, which is available at www.nhs.uk