Frequently Asked Questions

See here for answers to some key questions.

What is the aim of the North East Essex Diabetes Service?

North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS) is committed to providing high standards of care for all patients, with GP practices being supported by a diabetes specialist team which is led by a consultant.


Our aim is to provide more care across a range of community settings, consequently reducing the need for hospital visits and providing services closer to home.

What community clinics do NEEDS provide?

There are weekly, consultant-led clinics in Clacton, Colchester and Harwich. Other specialist clinics, such as insulin pump, exercise and insulin, mental health support and Freestyle Libre clinics, take place at a variety of locations on a regular basis.

How many community clinics will there be?

There will be weekly, consultant-led clinics in Clacton, Colchester and Harwich.  Other specialist clinics, such as insulin pump and nurse-led clinics will be taking place in a variety of GP practices on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.  Clinics will be monitored and changed to meet patient needs.

Are all diabetes services included in NEEDS?

The services which are NOT included are digital eye (retinal) screening, renal (kidney) services, ophthalmology (hospital eye clinic), prosthetics (artificial limbs) and in-patient care. We will however have close links with the providers of these services and will make referrals.

How do I get referred to NEEDS?

GP practices will provide most of the care and will make referrals, where required, to the diabetes specialist team. Once stable, the patient will be discharged back to the care of their GP practice.

What are the 8 care processes in the annual review?

The 8 care processes should be included in your annual review by your GP. They are a series of annual checks proposed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to monitor the health of those living with diabetes.


The 8 care processes are:

  • HbA1c (blood glucose levels)
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Serum creatine level – a check to test your kidney function
  • Urine albumin – a check for the risk of kidney disease
  • Foot surveillance
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) – weight check
  • Smoking status

Another health check we recommend to patients is retinal (eye) screening. This will be carried out by Health Intelligence.

Which diabetes measurements should I be checking on a regular basis?

We would recommend that you check your blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels on a regular basis. By keeping note of these measurements, it will help both yourself and our team to identify any significant changes.

What are the complications of diabetes?

There are two types of diabetes complications – chronic and acute.

Chronic complications are long-term and tend to develop gradually. These include eye problems (retinopathy), foot problems, heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems (nephropathy), nerve damage (neuropathy) and gum disease.


Acute complications can happen at any time. These include hypos (low blood sugar levels), hypers (high blood sugar levels), Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State (HHS) or Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).

For further information, click here.

How do I prevent or delay the complications of diabetes?

The mains ways to delay or prevent the complications of diabetes is to ensure you are regularly completing your 15 essential health checks. You can find out more here.


The main things you can do is lower your blood glucose levels and blood pressure, quit smoking, keep active and ensure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet.

What are the risks of having a high blood pressure?

A hyper, also referred to as hyperglycaemia, is caused when your blood glucose levels are too high. The symptoms of a hyper include passing more urine than usual, being very thirsty, headaches and severe tiredness.

To treat a hyper, you could try drinking plenty of water and/or taking extra insulin.

What diabetes patient education sessions do you offer?

We offer Type 1 and Type 2 education courses such as DAFNE and DESMOND in variety of community settings and times.

Our courses include:

  • Type 2 patient conferences
  • Conversation Maps

For further information on available courses, and how to book your place, click here.

How do I find other people in my local area who also live with diabetes?

There are three local patient forum groups that you can get involved in. Please see the links below for further information:

Colchester Forum

Tendring Group

Type 2 Together – West Mersea