Type 1 diabetes sufferer criticises local hospital

Wed, 02 Oct 2013
A diabetes patient has hit out at her local hospital after being told she could only see a consultant once she had been reviewed by a specialist diabetes nurse.

Michelle Heather from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, attempted to seek specialist help from a doctor at nearby Cheltenham General Hospital following a decline in health caused by her long-standing type 1 diabetes.

But despite a referral from her GP, the long-term diabetes sufferer was turned down an appointment and told to see a specialist diabetes nurse instead.

With her type 1 condition worsening, Miss Heather is looking to switch from a diabetes clinic in Oxford, which she has been attending since being diagnosed with the disease in 1971, to services at Cheltenham General, which is less than a mile from her home.

"With my sugar levels as they are currently, it is unsafe for me to drive myself such a distance, and as a full-time carer looking after my elderly, disabled mother, I have to leave her totally alone for about four hours when I travel to Oxford," she explained.

While Miss Heather was offered an appointment with a specialist nurse, she said she experts at the Oxford clinic had told her she should see a doctor in Cheltenham to discuss the insulin treatment options available to her.

"I also need to see someone who understands the implications of hormonal changes on diabetic women...something that I do not consider a diabetic specialist nurse would have sufficient knowledge about," she added.

In response, a spokesman for Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the decision to have Miss Heather reviewed initially by one of the hospital's diabetes specialist nurses before seeing a diabetes consultant was based on the information received in her referral letter.

"If Miss Heather and her GP feel that this is not the most appropriate approach, we would urge them to contact us to enable us to find out more about her needs and to address her concerns," the spokesman added.
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