Sweet success for Brighton’s diabetes care team

Posted On 14 Jul 2018 at 8:08 pm

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.

Ali Chakera

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

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.”

  1. Olly Reply

    Interesting. As a type 1 diabetic I have found my care is the worst it has ever been in Brighton. For years I would see specialists at the Royal Sussex alongside my local GP and access to nurses if required. Appointments were regular and ideas were always suggested to improve my control. A few years back I was told that my care was moving “into the community”. I now get approximately 5mins a year (1 appointment) with a doctor who is not a diabetic specialist. The appointments are held in clinics with no specialist equipment or nurses and often achieve nothing. They fell rushed and pointless. I understand diabetic care costs a lot but surely this approach is always going to cost the NHS a lot more in the long term. Reading this article I wonder how do I get access to this award winning care or is it all about the clever analysis of a few patients. After all they would have no clue about my diabetic control!

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