A fresh look at ways to care for people with diabetes has reaped dividends for patients – and earned recognition for the clinicians behind the changes.
The Diabetes Care Team at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Brighton, has become one of the leaders in its field.
The team is one of the best in the country for helping diabetic patients to control their blood glucose levels successfully.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) – the NHS trust that runs the Royal Sussex – said that it was “now ranked in the top 15 per cent of hospitals in the entire country by the National Diabetes Audit”.
The audit measured how many patients with diabetes were able to keep their blood glucose levels within strict limits.
Diabetes and endocrinology consultant Ali Chakera said: “It can be difficult for some diabetes patients to keep tight control over their glucose levels.”
Dr Chakera said: “Two years ago, we looked at the problem from the patients’ point of view and developed a multi-specialist team who could offer holistic support to meet an individual’s specific needs.
“This approach gave us the opportunity to offer care in a highly co-ordinated and flexible way which could adapt over time as our patients’ needs changed.”
The team includes a wide range of specialists, from doctors, nurses and dieticians through to psychologists and foot care specialists, working with patients who have been referred from other departments within the hospital.
Care is tailored to each individual’s requirements, helping them to self-manage their condition as much as possible.
The trust’s chief medical officer and deputy chief executive, George Findlay, said: “These results are outstanding and show the power of working together in new ways to improve patient care.”
Dr Findlay said: “The Diabetes Management Team has worked incredibly hard over the past two years to improve outcomes for our patients and I’m delighted to see that externally audited data is showing the progress that we’ve made.”
The trust said: “Significantly, the data shows that the team’s efforts are helping women control their glucose levels in different stages of pregnancy, a time in their lives which diabetes makes more complicated and dangerous.
“In the two years since the holistic service was first developed, there have been no diabetes-related birth defects experienced by babies of mothers under the BSUH team’s care.
“In addition, over three quarters of all pregnant mothers are able to consistently meet exceptionally stringent targets, thanks to the holistic care provided by the team.”
Ruth Copeman, a paramedic who has type 1 diabetes, said: “Little did I know that the team at the Royal Sussex County Hospital were going to change my insulin-filled life so positively.
“Never have I felt more cared for – and also being seen as an individual rather than a condition is so refreshing.
“The positive impact this wonderful team of people have had on my life cannot be stated enough. Thank you.”