Norfolk and Waveney to have specialist diabetes nurses in GP surgeries

Prof Mike Sampson. Photo by Simon Finlay

Prof Mike Sampson. Photo by Simon Finlay - Credit: Archant Norfolk

More GP practices across Norfolk and Waveney will have a diabetes specialist nurse or a GP with a special interest in diabetes thanks to funding provided by the Norfolk Diabetes Trust (NDT).

The joint initiative between the NDT and the five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will see up to 50 clinical staff from practices undertake Warwick University's Certificate in Diabetes Care.

With at least 52,560 people in Norfolk registered with diabetes and approximately 1,500 diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes annually the Warwick course equips nurses with a wide range of the skills and knowledge.

NDT trustee and consultant in diabetes and endocrinology Professor Mike Sampson said: 'We are all very pleased that the NDT has been able to work in partnership with local CCGs to make this joint investment, and the NDT is keen to support the management of diabetes in all Norfolk general practices; I think the combination of this investment and the new diabetes outreach service will make a big difference to diabetes care locally.'

The NDT seeks to improve facilities and care for the people in Norfolk with known or undiagnosed diabetes. It provides additional equipment, staff and facilities and has raised and invested in excess of £2.5m into diabetes services locally - making a major difference to diabetes services in Norfolk.

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The NDT also seeks to improve knowledge and awareness of diabetes and its management, amongst patients, their relatives and healthcare professionals. The NDT donation of £75,000 to fund the training will make a big difference to those living with diabetes and their families or people who find that they are pre-diabetic.

Callum Metcalfe, practice nurse and diabetes lead at Attleborough Surgery is already a graduate of the course. He said: 'By having staff who are not only able to recognise the signs of developing diabetes but also preventing this common condition will be pivotal in improving the health of our local population.

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'Diabetes is a condition that doesn't just impact the one person but the family as a whole, as a healthier lifestyle / food regime may be needed by the whole family to improve one person's confidence and ability to make the changes.'

The Warwick course was selected because many of the clinicians can study locally, meaning they spend less time away from their roles within GP practices.

Maggie Heels, diabetes nurse facilitator manager for central Norfolk added: 'By having more diabetes trained nurses in primary care we will be able to reduce the variation in the quality of care and deliver consistent, good quality care. The trained nurses will work alongside patients to set individual goals and discuss clinical aspects of their disease management.

'It is therefore vital that primary care has the skills to provide the right advice and care for people with diabetes.'

Clair Haylock, clinical lead for diabetes at St Stephens Gate Medical Practice and Newmarket Road Surgery said: 'This course improves the depth of the nurse's knowledge and understanding of diabetes. The long-term benefits of this will be a reduction in the complications of diabetes, of which the present cost to both patients and their families along with NHS financial budgets is enormous.'

Dr Chris Dent of Oak Street Medical Practice in Norwich added: 'Having developed diabetes there is a huge amount that can be done to control the condition and even 'pause' its progression. This requires team work between the health care professionals and the person with diabetes and greatly benefits from the help, support and encouragement of the persons family and friends. '

People are encouraged to visit their GP practice if they have a strong family history of diabetes, find they are symptomatic with thirst, increased urination, increased fatigue or if concerned about their weight and lifestyle.

Dr Tony Palframan of Heathgate Medical Practice and a diabetic added: 'Practice diabetic nurses are a fund of knowledge and information, whether you are at risk of diabetes, have pre-diabetes or the full disease. Use them.'

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