Major anniversary for diabetes care in Leicester
Leicester has been described as a “leading global force” in diabetes care as the city celebrates its 70-year anniversary of providing pioneering services for people with the condition.
The concept of a ‘diabetes team’ with diabetes nurses going out into the community was introduced by the award-winning Dr Joan Walker after being appointed as a physician at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 1945. It triggered a major shift in care nationally and gained worldwide acclaimed.
Today, as well as comprehensive diabetes services now available throughout the county in the community and in hospital, the city is also still recognised across the world for the excellence of its diabetes research and education.
The Leicester Diabetes Centre is an international centre of excellence in diabetes research, education and innovation, based at Leicester General Hospital, which was officially opened in 2013 by Sir Steve Redgrave CBE.
As well as being home to the gold standard NHS structured education programme for Type 2 diabetes, DESMOND, which is commissioned by more than 90 NHS Trusts, the centre is also pushing the barriers of research with over 130 staff working on more than 30 studies.
We are committed to furthering our reputation as a leading global force and even more committed to improving the lives of people with diabetes
Professor Melanie Davies – who alongside fellow professors Kamlesh Khunti and Heather Daly, leads ground-breaking research at the centre – said: “We are proud of our city’s strong history in advancing treatments, care and education for people with diabetes.
“We are continuing to build on the excellent work led by Dr Joan Walker, who had so much influence in shaping diabetes care for the better in the post-war era. Today, Leicester is still recognised internationally for our world-class research, innovation and education. We are committed to furthering our reputation as a leading global force and even more committed to improving the lives of people with diabetes.”
John Evans, 67, of Anstey Heights, Leicester, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in April. He said: “The diabetes services have been excellent, first through my doctor and practice nurse with checks and advice and also the DESMOND course. I think DESMOND helps take away the fear factor from diabetes.”
In the 1940s, Dr Walker initiated the treatment of children and adults with the condition in their own homes, which was ground-breaking at the time, and soon became recognised as a both innovator and international authority on diabetes.
Her successor Dr John Hearnshaw organised the first diabetes children’s camp in the UK in 1984 and went on to present at a International Diabetes Federation conference about childhood diabetes.
The Leicester Diabetes Centre is a partnership between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester, working with the city and county Clinical Commissioning Groups. It is a leading applied health research unit committed to improving the lives and care of people with diabetes and other long-term conditions.