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Diabetes project saves Southampton hospital £200,000 a year
A PIONEERING project in Southampton is transforming care for diabetic patients while saving cash-strapped hospital bosses £200,000 a year.
A specialist diabetes task force has hit the wards of the city’s General Hospital, offering unique bedside clinics to patients in a bid to combat any diabetes complications before they become an emergency.
The three-month trial has proved a huge success, preventing 45 potential diabetes-related medication errors, reducing readmission rates by almost four per cent and cutting the length of stay in hospital that has resulted in a yearly saving of £200,000.
Patients who are diabetics, but are in for other medical reasons, will not normally see a diabetes specialist unless they suffer from a major complication as a result of the condition.
During this trial, nearly 400 cardiac, orthopaedic and vascular patients who have diabetes, admitted for unrelated treatment, were seen daily by an inpatient diabetes team who came to their bed to ensure everything was OK.
With 15 per cent of all inpatients at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust with diabetes and more than 13,000 sufferers over 16 in the city, the transformation in care is vital to reduce costs and boost care.
Dr Mayank Patel, lead consultant in diabetes who headed up the project, said: “With only one specialist diabetes nurse and one part-time diabetes dietician working with a consultant and pharmacist, who had to split diabetes work with other general medicine duties before the launch of this project, the experience for patients with diabetes was poor and that needed to change.
“By switching the focus on to caring for patients’ diabetes before they encounter problems and allowing us to dedicate time to them and the staff treating them, we have seen quite a radical transformation.”
The launch of the pilot scheme comes after a 2012 National Diabetes Inpatient Audit found 3,700 patients in hospitals across England and Wales experienced at least one medication error in one week, with those affected suffering double the number of seizures.
The diabetes team complete full daily reviews, which include foot examinations, provide information materials to all patients and staff, offer bespoke teaching sessions to all wards and are there to rectify any unsafe or incorrect prescribing.
There are now plans to extend the scheme to cover the stroke unit and surgical wards after great reviews from staff and patients.
Dr Patel added: “As a diabetes specialist team, it is our aim to ensure that the condition is managed just as well as the patient’s heart or orthopaedic surgery while they are under our care and we are making great strides in moving diabetes up the agenda here in Southampton.”
Anyone interested about the project or the condition is invited to an open evening with Dr Patel and his team at Central Hall, Southampton, on November 19 from 7-9pm. Ring 023 8079 4853 to book a place.