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Pilot scheme leads to radical change in diabetes hospital care

Care of diabetic patients at Southampton General Hospital has been greatly improved thanks to the trial of a specialist diabetes task force.
The three-month trial has proved a huge success, with hospital bosses revealing that it has helped prevent 45 potential diabetes-related medication errors, lower readmission rates by almost four per cent and reduce the length of stay in hospital, resulting in an annual saving of £200,000.
A team of inpatient diabetes specialists provide daily bedside support to almost 400 diabetic patients in various wards, admitted for unrelated treatment, in an effort to help treat any diabetes complications at an early stage.
They also complete full daily reviews, which include vital foot examinations, provide information to patients and staff and offer bespoke teaching sessions to all wards.
Dr Mayank Patel, lead consultant in diabetes who headed up the project, said: “With only one specialist diabetes nurse and one part-time diabetes dietician working with a consultant and pharmacist, who had to split diabetes work with other general medicine duties before the launch of this project, the experience for patients with diabetes was poor and that needed to change.
“By switching the focus on to caring for patients’ diabetes before they encounter problems and allowing us to dedicate time to them and the staff treating them, we have seen quite a radical transformation.”
With 15 per cent of all inpatients at University Hospital Southampton suffering from diabetes, Dr Patel now plans to extend the well-received pilot to include the stroke unit and surgical wards.
He added: “As a diabetes specialist team, it is our aim to ensure that the condition is managed just as well as the patient’s heart or orthopaedic surgery while they are under our care and we are making great strides in moving diabetes up the agenda here in Southampton.”

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