THREE new “one-stop” clinics aim to transform the lives of diabetes sufferers in South Tyneside.
The facilities – at Flagg Court and Cleadon Park Primary Care Centres, both South Shields, and the Glen Primary Care Centre in Hebburn will deliver nine separate annual health checks for the 9,900 people in the borough who are living with the condition.
The clinics are being funded by NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Dr Funmi Nixon, a local GP and the CCG’s clinical chairwoman for long-term conditions, said: “This is an important step, meaning better care, a more personal service and less hassle for patients.
“Instead of three or more separate appointments at different times of the year, the centres will provide the full range of tests together.
“As a result, GPs will be free to spend more time with patients, planning their care together with a full set of results to hand rather than delivering the tests themselves. Doctors can take a holistic view of a patient’s health needs – and lives will be saved as a result.”
The first new measures are being phased in this month, with the full range available from April.
The service will provide up to nine annual care processes for diabetes patients to monitor their condition – BMI, blood glucose, blood pressure, blood creatinine tests to check kidney function, cholesterol checks, urinary albumin tests for early kidney damage, plus retinal and foot screening and help with giving up smoking – in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) best practice guidance.
The service, which will be delivered by South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, has been welcomed by diabetes campaigner Clare Allom, secretary of the South Tyneside Diabetes UK group.
She said: “It will be so much easier to go to one place and get all the tests without lots of different appointments in different places. I’m absolutely delighted and I want to thank the team for listening and making it happen.”
Patients who do not attend for the new service will be actively followed up, and close joint working with GPs will reduce the risk of patients slipping through the net. Newly diagnosed patients are referred to the retinal screening service, which automatically registers them for the nine annual processes of care.
For more details, go to www.diabetes.org.uk-essentials