2019: The year North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) continued to provide one of the nation’s best diabetes services

North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS), which is managed by Suffolk GP Federation and commissioned by North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), provides diabetes care in Clacton, Colchester and Harwich for over 20,000 people living with diabetes. 2019 proved to be an extremely positive year for the service who successfully continue to provide high quality care for Type 1, Type 2 and other less common types of diabetes. The service also offers regular structured education sessions, such as DAFNE and DESMOND, in order to improve knowledge and increase confidence in diabetes self-management.

In the most recent National Diabetes Audit (NDA), North East Essex CCG achieved very highly in the number of people with diabetes having their eight care processes; a series of annual checks proposed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to monitor and improve health in those with diabetes. In particular, they achieved highly in the number of Type 1 and Type 2 patients receiving their checks for their blood glucose levels, known as HbA1c, (83.5%), blood pressure (95.4%), cholesterol (92.2%), Body Mass Index (94.3%) and quit smoking support (96.2%). North East Essex CCG also stood out in regards to diabetes education with 25% of patients attending a structured education session within 12 months of being diagnosed in comparison to the average in England (8.9%) and neighbouring Suffolk CCG’s (17.3%).

'Living With T1 Diabetes Event' Image courtesy of Synnova Studios

‘Living With T1 Diabetes Event’ Image courtesy of Synnova Studios

In November, North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) held a hugely successful ‘Living with T1 Diabetes’ event in Colchester in which over 70 people attended. The event welcomed both those living with Type 1 diabetes and their carers/relatives to increase their knowledge about the condition and feel empowered to self-manage their diabetes. The day began with a highly motivational speech from special guest speaker, Kevin House, followed by several informative sessions about various topics that were led by the Diabetes Team.

The service also continues to work closely with two local patient forum groups. There is one in Colchester that meet regularly to discuss their diabetes care and provide feedback to the Diabetes Services Board, and one in Tendring that aims to teach patients more about their diabetes whilst also connecting them with other people in the area who have the same condition.

North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) also won numerous awards in 2019, including the prestigious ‘Chief Nursing Award’ which local nurse Emma Birbeck received at the annual education conference hosted by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNFT). The award recognised Emma for her significant and outstanding contributions towards providing excellent care for diabetes patients.

In addition to this, North East Essex CCG received an ‘Outstanding’ rating for their diabetes care for the second year in a row by the NHS Oversight Framework; the annual measurement tool for CCG’s. This was achieved by analysing their diabetes data and assessing it in relation to two main diabetes indicators. These included the percentage of diabetes patients that received all three of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended treatment targets, and the number of people who attended an educational course within a year of being diagnosed with diabetes.

Towards the end of the year, North East Essex CCG won two awards in the National Diabetes Complete Awards 2019 which was part of the annual CCG Prescriber Conference. Despite competition from CCG’s across the nation, the dedication and hard work from the North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) resulted in them being awarded for meeting their ‘Three Treatment Targets in Diabetes’ and for being the ‘Best Monitoring in Diabetes’.

Adele Holcombe, Diabetes Service Manager at North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) said: “As a team we are extremely proud of what NEEDS have achieved in the last year. Our service continues to provide the very best diabetes care for our patients whilst also emphasising the importance of education and how it allows those with diabetes to safely manage their condition on a daily basis. We work closely with primary care and other health organisations across North East Essex with the shared goal of delivering the best care we can.

The awards we have won over the last year are a testament to the hard work our team has put in to ensure that those living with diabetes in North East Essex receive the support and guidance they need to improve their quality of life. We are looking forward to see what more we can achieve in 2020.”

In the upcoming year, NEEDS intend to continue their success with several structured education sessions already lined up and they are currently in the process of organising a Type 2 conference, followed by another Type 1 event later in the year.

For more information about the services they provide, guidance for those living with diabetes and details about their structured education sessions, visit the North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) website here.