Several NHS Trusts redeployed DISNs during first wave of pandemic, evidence shows

By Editor
17th December 2021
Coronavirus, Diabetes specialist nurse Inpatient Mental wellbeing NHS Research

Latest research has revealed that 18 NHS Trusts redeployed Diabetes Inpatient Specialist Nurses to work on COVID-19 wards between March and May 2020. 

During the second wave of the pandemic, 11 NHS Trusts moved their Diabetes Inpatient Specialist Nurses (DISNs) to coronavirus wards, with two redeploying all their DISNs, the study has reported.

Entitled ‘The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on diabetes inpatient specialist nurses in the UK’, the research explored the impact of the coronavirus on DISNs.

It assessed redeployment numbers amongst DISNs and examined what wellbeing support was on offer during the pandemic in the UK.

The DISN UK Group teamed up with Diabetes UK to distribute a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to 229 NHS trusts to understand the impact of the pandemic on diabetes inpatient services.

They also sent out an online survey to specialist nurses to analyse the mental strain on DISNs during both waves of the pandemic.

A total of 41 NHS Trusts responded to the FOI request and 24 DISNs participated in the online survey.

In the FOI request analysis, 36 out of 41 Trusts reported having dedicated DISNs, with half of these Trusts admitting to redeploying their staff during the first wave of the pandemic.

The request also found that most of the Trusts provided staff with access to mental health and wellbeing services.

According to the researchers, careful planning is needed to preserve diabetes inpatient nurses’ services to support and manage people with diabetes and the convoluted pathology of COVID-related diabetes during future waves of the pandemic.

They are calling for more provisions to be made for staff including access to and uptake of mental health and wellbeing services to deal with work-related stress.

The researchers stated: “During the COVID-19 waves, redeployment of healthcare professionals was used as an approach to address shortages and capacity concerns.

“Our study showed that many Trusts both redeployed their DISNs and had severely reduced medical support during the pandemic, especially during the first wave.”

They added: “Redeployment and disruption in clinical diabetes services further impacted on the care that inpatient with diabetes required during the pandemic.”

To access the entire research report, click here.

Photo by Laura James from Pexels

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