The North Devon Integrated Diabetes Service was first conceived by Dr Alastair Watt, Diabetes Consultant at NDDH. Sadly Dr Watt died in 2017 before the vision was fully realised but his passion to put people with diabetes at the heart of the service lives on with the project team who worked with him. He explained why the system needed to change:
“People with diabetes are the ones managing their condition 24 hours a day. We need a system that gives patients all the tools and support available to do this well. Specialist knowledge and guidance needs to be more widely available to patients and to GPs who support the vast majority of people with diabetes at other times.”
– Dr Alastair Watt
“If I was asked to name one thing that would dramatically improve the health and well being of people with diabetes it would not be more doctors, nurses, clinics or beds. They all have their part to play, but for me the number one improvement would be properly supporting and empowering people with diabetes so that they are truly confident about managing their own condition on a day to day basis calling on help from healthcare professionals when they choose and for the reasons that are important to them.”
– Dr Sue Roberts, Clinical Lead for the Year of Care Programme
Because of long-term nerve damage associated with poorly managed diabetes, people with diabetes face an increased risk of amputation. The NHS reports that people who have diabetes are 15 times more likely to undergo amputations than other people without the condition.
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of amputation of the lower limbs throughout the world but it was concerning to those involved in diabetes care in North Devon to see the high rates of amputation as shown below.