The NHS could save £100 million pounds each year by recruiting in diabetes specialist nurses (DSNs), according to reports by the Nursing Standard, based on research carried out at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust .
Over the course of a year, DSNs visited the emergency medical unit every weekday to screen patients for diabetes .
A total of 111 patients were diagnosed during this period, while the specialists also provided basic self management skills, and arranged follow-up appointments at the diabetic clinic.
As a result of their involvement, which led to reduced inpatient days, the hospital saved around £111,155 over the twelve months.
“This trial was based on checking patients Monday to Friday – imagine how much more could be saved if the service was extended to the weekend,” said Leicester diabetes nurse Anita Khulpateea.
The study found that improved diagnosis could reduce patients with diabetes average hospital stay by 42 per cent – from 11 days, costing £215 per day, to less than 24 hours.
According to health charity Diabetes UK, diabetes patients take 1.1m hospital visits each year in the UK and a reduction of 42 per cent would save the NHS almost £100m.
A spokesperson for the group said: “This research is further proof of the vital role DSNs play in improving the health of people with diabetes and the financial woes of the NHS .”
“With spiralling rates of diabetes, the government has to look to long-term solutions and invest in staff such as DSNs.”
The NHS National Diabetes Support Team also highlighted the importance of DSNs in their “Improving Emergency and Inpatient Care for People with Diabetes” report, published earlier this month.