Diabetics invited to help shape care

Hundreds of people with diabetes across Norfolk are being asked to help shape the future care of the condition within the NHS. The 2006 annual survey of NHS patients will focus on diabetes care and 850 people with diabetes in Norfolk will be invited to contribute to a confidential and voluntary patient survey to find out what they think about the care they receive.

Hundreds of people with diabetes across Norfolk are being asked to help shape the future care of the condition within the NHS.

The 2006 annual survey of NHS patients will focus on diabetes care and 850 people with diabetes in Norfolk will be invited to contribute to a confidential and voluntary patient survey to find out what they think about the care they receive.

A randomly selected sample of people with diabetes, aged 16 and over, who are registered with general practices in the county, will receive a questionnaire asking them to participate.

The aim of the survey, which will be going out to patients during the next few weeks, is to assess whether people with diabetes are receiving the care, treatment and information they need to manage their condition well and to reduce the risk of complications.

The opportunity has been welcomed by sufferers across the county.

Martin Land, who is a "patients' champion" representing people with diabetes in Norfolk, said: "I think this is a fantastic opportunity and will help make the provision of service better. Asking the patient is the best way to do it. I hope that all comments will be taken into account, whether they are detrimental or not. I think care for diabetes in Norfolk is generally not bad but this survey can help shape the future of NHS care as far as diabetes is concerned. That is important as diabetes can double, or even triple, in the next 10 years."

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Already, there are an estimated 22,000 people with diabetes in Norfolk and the numbers are growing.

From the survey, local health trusts plan to use the patients' views to improve the experience of people with the condition and to highlight areas where services perform well and identify areas where there is most room for improvement.

They will be asked about various aspects of their experiences including diagnosis, check-ups, tests, management of diabetes, education and training, psychological and emotional support, stays in hospital and access to GP services.

Mr Land is also involved with a patient helpline for people with diabetes in Norfolk which offers advice, support and general help to people who may have just been diagnosed, have a child with diabetes, or may have had the condition for a while.

The helpline is manned by patients advisers and the number is 0800 032 0087.