In Wales diabetes patients are more likely to be referred not to hospital but to another GP with a special interest in diabetes.
“For the last 20 years I’ve been a clinical assistant in the pigmented lesion clinic at Singleton Hospital, performing minor surgery on people with skin cancer,” he said.
Dr David Millar-Jones is Wales’ no1 first GP with a special interest in diabetics.
He has just been appointed to combat high levels of diabetes in Torfae, which has a 4.4% diabetic population.
He took up the post at the end of June and will work in a primary care team with specialist diabetes nurse Sian Bodma, dietitians and a podiatrist.
Trained in Cardiff, he worked initially as a clinical assistant, rising to become an associate specialist in diabetes before extending his hospital role into primary care.
“Diabetes care in Torfaen is brilliant anyway in primary care but a lot of GPs are concerned about things like starting insulin injections maybe because of the different types available and the time it takes to initiate and review patients.”
“We will have two roles – patient management and education. Because of mine and Sian’s specialist interest in diabetes, we are planning to give talks, or lectures, to GPs, other health professionals and patients about diabetes, screening, new treatments and complications.
“The extra benefits from my role as a GP with a special interest really come from being able to deal with patients in familiar surroundings so they are more relaxed, making it easier for patients to call on me for help if there’s a problem.”
“When a GP starts having a special interest in one thing, it also encourages other GPs who may want to get involved in things like kidney or heart problems.
“GPs with special interests will have to play a crucial role in the future of the NHS.
“As hospitals are becoming overloaded with highly technical treatments, they have to offload other treatments, including chronic diseases.
“Primary care is extremely busy and a lot of GPs are just keeping their heads above the water just doing what they are doing. But having a primary care team in the community to give patients and professionals an extra facility and time, is important, not just for diabetes, but for other chronic conditions.”

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