15 November 2022

Diabetes service recognised as among the best in the country

The diabetes service at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been shown to be among the best in the country by the results of a national review of services across England and Wales.

The National Diabetes Audit found that the Sheffield team across hospitals and primary care helped significantly more people with type 1 diabetes achieve near normal glucose levels than the national average.

People with type 1 diabetes need to be taught how to safely measure their blood glucose and inject insulin from the day of diagnosis. Keeping glucose levels near normal means that in the longer term they are less likely to suffer from eye, kidney and nerve damage.

Type 1 diabetes is often more complex than type 2 diabetes, where changes in diet, lifestyle, or the prescription of tablets can help keep glucose levels near normal for many years before insulin injections may be required. Therefore, people with type 1 are usually under the care of hospital specialists.

As well as helping patients to manage their diabetes effectively, the team also ensured that more people than the national average received a screening test each year.

Jackie Elliott, Clinical Lead for Diabetes, said: “This is an achievement we should all be proud of. We know that helping patients achieve a good glucose target makes a massive difference to them individually, but also on a population level reduces the long-term devastating complications of diabetes and the impact that has on other health services.”

Kevin Stark (pictured), 49, of Chapeltown, Sheffield, has been under the care of the team after he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year. His diagnosis followed symptoms including significant unexplained weight loss and excessive thirst.

He said: “I was admitted to A&E and I am not afraid to admit I was scared and confused. However, from my first interactions with the nursing and diabetic team they were nothing but reassuring and professional. They gave me a good overview of the condition and explained that it can be managed very well and that there will be support every step of the way.”

Kevin was shown how to measure his glucose levels and inject insulin and given literature about how to manage the condition before he was discharged, and a nurse called him the next day to check how he was managing and provide support.

A dietitian also spoke to Kevin to help him understand how his diabetes responded to different type of foods and the amount of insulin to inject. Specialist nurses were available via phone or email if he needed advice.

Kevin said: “I really felt that I was part of a team, it was a very personal service and they knew my history and what worked and what didn’t, and it gave me real confidence in managing the situation.

“Their knowledge and understanding and advice was invaluable. I can honestly say the support has been exceptional and nearly a year on from diagnosis I am armed with all the tools and techniques to enable me to live a completely normal life.”

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