Andrea Beacham, partnerships and GP liaison lead, recently attended a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes in the House of Commons to talk about the successes of the North Devon Integrated Diabetes Service.
The meeting, ‘Prioritisation of Diabetes for Government and the NHS’, brought together Parliamentarians and a number of influential speakers about diabetes. Together they discussed the plans, priorities and future of support for people living with diabetes in the UK.
Andrea attended the meeting alongside representatives from NHS England, Diabetes UK and Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.
Raising the profile of pioneering diabetes care in North Devon
Andrea spoke about the successes of the North Devon Integrated Diabetes Service and its co-designed approach to improving diabetes care in North Devon. This is a partnership between primary care (GPs), secondary care (hospital doctors), people living with diabetes, domiciliary care and the voluntary sector (including Diabetes UK).
Andrea shared what we learned and what we did as a result, which includes making care more joined-up for patients between GPs and hospital doctors, and making sure patients have the tools they need to manage their condition.
- People living with diabetes in North Devon are now benefitting from health and wellbeing events, peer support groups and exercise classes, which have been held in Barnstaple, Bideford, Ilfracombe, Torrington, South Molton and Holsworthy.
- Behind the scenes, healthcare organisations have made care more joined up for patients by improving links between organisations and sharing specialist knowledge.
- Healthcare professionals are working together to create a standardised care plan so that all GP practices are asking all the right questions as soon as a person is diagnosed with diabetes and beyond.
- Specialist podiatrists and dietitians are sharing their knowledge with GPs, practice nurses and domiciliary care workers, which is helping these care professionals ask questions and carry out assessments that help catch problems early on before they develop into more serious complications.
Sharing what we’ve learned in North Devon to benefit others
Andrea recommended to the group that strong local partnerships are developed to ensure healthy lifestyle work in diabetes is joined up and embedded not just across small communities but also in wider areas. This is incredibly important, particularly in more dispersed populations like in northern Devon.
The group supported Andrea’s recommendation about tailoring support to those people most in need, including those with the lowest income, and talked about the experiences of people living with diabetes in the areas they represent, including some of the most deprived communities in the UK.
Following the meeting, NHS England has asked to use the work happening in North Devon as a case study to demonstrate the positive results that have been achieved with support from their diabetes transformation investment.