Diabetes service commended for ‘fantastic’ first-year results

26 August 2015

The North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS), which was introduced in April 2014, has achieved impressive first-year results, increasing the number of patients receiving all eight care processes over the past 12 months from 40.1% to 60.3%.

The care processes, which are recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), include blood glucose levels, eye examinations, foot checks and kidney function.

With 18,400 people living with diabetes in North East Essex, the pioneering NEEDS service, which is delivered by the Suffolk GP Federation, has also focused on improving patient education and involvement, with 95% of patients newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and 96% of patients newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes being offered structured education.

Blood pressure and cholesterol outcomes have also improved and hospital readmissions due to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hypo/hyperglycaemia have decreased by 31.6%.

Dr Karunakaran Vithian, Community Diabetologist for NEEDS and Clinical Lead for Diabetes at Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust, said: “Ensuring patients receive all eight care processes is one of the most important measures of a diabetes service. This is a real achievement, reflecting the hard work of the diabetes team, primary care colleagues and of course, people with diabetes. To have achieved these results in the first year of the new model of diabetes care is fantastic and bodes well for the future.”

Ben Ellis, Shared Practice and Innovation Manager at Diabetes UK, who has developed a case study on the NEEDS service, said: “This is a great example of what can be achieved when healthcare professionals come together across the care pathway to deliver more joined up care. Through expanding the role of primary care, NEEDS have achieved fantastic first-year results, which are already making a big difference to the lives of people with diabetes.”

The Suffolk GP Federation was commissioned by the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in 2013. Where the previous diabetes service was often fragmented with a number of different providers, the NEEDS integrated model of care brings together the majority of diabetes care under the umbrella of one service. It also incorporates a community-based diabetes specialist team, making it easier for patients to access higher level care locally to where they live, reducing the need for hospital visits.

The full case study is available on the NEEDS website: www.diabetesneeds.org.uk

Top line findings

  • A 5.3% increase in the diagnosed population (from 17,470 in 2013/2014 to 18,400 in 2015/2016)
  • An increase in the percentage of people receiving all eight care processes from 40.1% in April 2014 to 60.3% in March 2015
  • A 31.6% decrease in readmissions for patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) or hypo/hyperglycaemia
  • 95% of patients newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and 96% of patients newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes offered structured education
  • 66% of outpatients previously under the care of the acute hospital were discharged and are now being treated in primary care
  • 96% of patients stated they were ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to recommend the new service (of 85 patients surveyed)