A new diabetes advice scheme has been launched in Weston-super-Mare that trains people who already have diabetes to help others that have developed the same condition. The scheme involves training a number of volunteer peer advisors who provide basic advice and guidance to those who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes.
The idea is that having volunteer advisers in place allows hospital consultants to focus on those patients who most need their attentio, although it was recognised that the advice offered by the volunteers should not conflict with that coming from the medical experts.
The teaching provided to the volunteers involves advice on diet and ensuring they have the confidence to help guide newly diagnosed patients. The scheme follows recent research in Bristol that revealed a group offered dietary advice after a diabetes diagnosis had much better levels of blood sugar after six months as compared with a control group who received no advice.
Dr Parag Singhal, a consultant physician at Weston General Hospital, commented “They give initial advice and they have to be very careful there is no conflict with the medical profession .”
He added “It’s simple basic advice and also they encourage patients to get opinions from nursing staff .”

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