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The Diabetes Manager – a moral imperative?

By Editor
27th May 2016
Care planning, Good practice Latest news The Diabetes Manager

Abigail Kitt is a healthcare manager who has worked in the diabetes sector since 2004. Over the course of her career, Abbey has built up knowledge in translating diabetes NHS policy into improving outcomes. Her blog,  The Diabetes Manager, shares Abbey’s passion for all things diabetes from a manager’s perspective.

The NICE Diabetes Quality Standards defines clinical best practice”.

Statement two of the 15 NICE Diabetes Quality Standards said: “People with diabetes receive personalised advice on nutrition and physical activity from an appropriately trained healthcare professional or as part of a structured educational programme.”

The guidance goes into detail about what “structured” means.

On average people with diabetes spend only three hours with a healthcare professional per year.

For the rest of the 8,757 hours per year, people are managing their condition for themselves.

Diabetes prevalence has increased by nearly 60 per cent in the past 10 years and potentially this trend will continue at an alarming rate.

I can only imagine that the time the people spend with a healthcare professional will go down.

Powerful resource

Are we missing a trick? At a time when resources are stretched it is a crashing shame not to harness our most under used and powerful resource – the person or carer themselves.

There are 60 new indicators in the CCG Improvement and Assessment Framework.
One of the 60 said: “Number of people with diabetes diagnosed less than a year who attend a structured education course.”

Look again. It said “attend”. That’s a big deal.

It’s not a coincidence that, with the introduction of 11 QOF points to refer patients to education, there was an enormous leap in referrals from 15.9 per cent in 2012/13 to 75.8 per cent in 2014/15.

However, despite a dramatic upturn in referrals, the National Diabetes Audit 2014-15 said that only 5.9 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes and 1.9 per cent of people with type 1 diabetes “attended” patient education.

That’s a bit dispiriting for providers working hard to run courses.

We know that more people attend education than is being reported.
So what’s going on?

I’ll tell you where I think we should start. Look at how we get data on “attendance” into GP clinical systems.

If that data isn’t being captured, then it is not being submitted annually to the National Diabetes Audit and your CCG IAF is indicator is not going to improve.

However, even if we get the data capture right and we double or treble recorded attendance at structured education we still have a mountain to climb.

Having this as a CCG IAF indicator will certainly focus the mind.

But more importantly, we know that people with diabetes are likely to spend less time with a healthcare professional in the future.

Surely we should be ensuring that we tool people with diabetes and their carers with quality education and information to support themselves?

I would go as far to say it may be a moral imperative.

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