Diabetes care improvements lead to contract extension

The NHS contract for the North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) which looks after 19,000 people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes across the Tendring and Colchester areas, has been extended for 2 years following the significant improvements seen over the past four years.

The latest figures show 72% of diabetes patients in the region are now receiving their eight-recommended health checks each year, compared to 40.1% before North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned the service in 2014.

The annual checks, which are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), include blood glucose levels, Body Mass Index (BMI) and foot health.

Patient involvement in shaping  NEEDS has been very important and a new event, titled ‘Diabetes and You’, will take place on Saturday 12th May, 10am -3pm at the Weston Homes Community stadium in Colchester when patients can give their feedback and learn new tips for managing their type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Julie Smith, Operations Director, Suffolk GP Federation, which runs the NEEDS service, said: “We are very pleased that we’ll be running NEEDS for another two years and look forward to welcoming patients and their carers to our special educational event on 12th May.”

Registrations for the free event close on the 4th May and can be booked online at http://bit.ly/DiabetesAndYouEvent, or by calling NEEDS on 0345 241 3313 (Option 2).

The event will include practical workshops that cover; annual health checks, nutrition, foot health, dental health, exercise and more. Free refreshments will be provided.

Local health providers and supporting organisations will also be attending to offer advice and guidance on living a healthy lifestyle with diabetes.

Father and son Geoff and Anthony Whitington (also known as ‘Fixing Dad’), who have featured on the BBC, will be sharing their inspirational story of how Anthony and his brother  helped their father Geoff overcome his battle with Type 2 diabetes.

Another guest speaker, consultant Dietitian, Lindsey Oliver, will share ideas for improving self-confidence in controlling and managing diabetes.

Service improvements made by NEEDS has led to increases in the numbers of diabetes patients with personalised care plans, and those within recommended cholesterol measurements – reducing the number of diabetes related hospital admissions in the region.

Sam Hepplewhite, Chief Officer at the North East Essex CCG, said: “It is essential that people living with diabetes are given access to high quality care and support.  This helps individuals to manage their own conditions as well as empower them to be further engaged in their own care, so they can lead happy and fulfilling lives.  The work that NEEDS does is essential to facilitating this approach.”

To book for the event or find out about NEEDS see diabetesneeds.org.uk or call 0345 241 3313 or email info@diabetesneeds.org.uk


SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS (Latest figures from March 2018)

  • 3% of patients (14,247) now receive all eight care processes (up from 40.1% in April 2014 when NEEDS started)
  • 4% of patients have blood pressure within target levels (up from 67.1% in April 2014) – an extra 2,802 patients
  • 3% of patients have an HbA1c level within a recommended range (up from 69.6% in April 2014) – an extra 3,815 patients
  • 2% of patients were offered a tailored care plan (up from 16.4% in 2014) – an extra 11,870 patients
  • 7% of patients at high-risk of foot problems are being referred to podiatry (up from 27.9% in 2014)
  • All GP practices in had better outcomes than those achieved in 2014
  • NEEDS Recognised as an Outstanding Service by NHS England Improvement and Assessment framework (IAF) for the percentage of diabetes patients that have achieved all recommended treatment targets (HbA1c, BP & Cholesterol)


  • Recognised by the Quality in Care awards for the development of the foot services
  • Runners up in the Health Enterprise East Health Innovations awards for the Virtual Ward service – care of people with diabetes under the care of Community Nurses
  • High % of people diagnosed with diabetes who have attended structured education within one year (comparing to a national basis)
  • Developed innovative education to support people with diabetes
  • Introduced joint initiatives with The University of Essex to upskill GP practice staff
  • Developed better collaborative working between diabetes care and Mental Health services, Health & Wellbeing services and social care services.