Diabetes outcomes up in north east Essex after concerted effort
The number of people with diabetes in north east Essex receiving their eight-recommended health checks each year has jumped from from 40.1 per cent to 72 per cent in four years.
The North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) was commissioned by North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned to provide services for 19,000 people living with diabetes across the Tendring and Colchester area in 2014.
NEEDS is run by the not-for-profit Suffolk GP Federation and cite the increase during its reign as down to “significant improvements”, including focusing on patient engagement. The success has led to the contract for NEEDS having recently been extended until 2021.
Sheila Smyth, director of community care services at Suffolk GP Federation, said: “Since launching NEEDS in 2014, patient engagement has played a crucial role in shaping the service. Events like ‘Diabetes and You’ allow patients to provide us with feedback which we use to continuously improve their service.”
The latest ‘Diabetes and You’ event took place on Saturday, May 12, with more than 100 people living with, and caring for, people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the region attending. The motivational event encouraged them to learn more about their condition and how they can best manage their diabetes.
Sheila added: “We would like to thank everyone who attended – we hope they learnt some useful tips and techniques to help them self-manage and feel more in control of their diabetes.”
Practical workshops at the event gave information about annual health checks, nutrition, foot health, dental health and exercise, while information stalls from local health services included Livewell, Health In Mind, Age Concern and Provide.
Father and sons Geoff, Anthony and Ian Whitington, also known as ‘Fixing Dad’, were among the guest speakers and shared their story of how family support helped overcome a battle with type 2 diabetes.
Geoff Whitington, guest speaker who has type 2 diabetes, said: “Fear and hope are crucial to better self-management of diabetes. You must have the fear that by not taking control of your habits you could be at serious risk and you must have hope to set goals and make positive changes to your lifestyle. My sons and family were crucial to this hope.”
Lorna Sainsbury, 47 from Mersea Island, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 20 years ago, said: “It’s incredible that there is still so much to learn about my diabetes. The workshops have been very useful and it has been a real eye-opener to talk to people who share the same challenges and experiences as me.”
Last year, Lorna took part in a type 1 structured education course DAFNE, which provided her with the skills to count carbohydrates and confidence to improve her diet.
Lindsey Oliver, Director of the Year of Care partnership, was part of the trailblazer group that introduced the DAFNE programme. Speaking at the event, she said: “Diabetes patients on average spend around three hours with their GPs and devote 8757 hours to the self-care and management of their condition. Attending structured education courses and getting all the information you need through events like today, is essential for managing your diabetes effectively. Patients in North East Essex are also entitled to a ‘year of care’ plan with their local GP, which sets clear self-management goals around their specific patient needs.”