A new service, aimed at helping those living with Type 2 Diabetes manage their condition in the community, has been launched today, World Diabetes Day (14 November) through the Belfast Integrated Care Partnerships.
The initiative will see a range of healthcare professionals working together in the community.
Funded by the Belfast Local Commissioning Group (LCG), the service has been established by the Belfast Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs) in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. It brings together healthcare professionals, voluntary and community representatives, patients and carers who have been involved in designing the new service.
Led by a Community Consultant diabetologist, the multidisciplinary team, which includes diabetes specialist nurses, dieticians, podiatrists, and care technicians, will work closely with General Practice and secondary care. The aim is to improve the experience of those people living with uncomplicated type 2 diabetes and provide services close to home as an alternative to attendance at hospital clinics.
Launching the new service, Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health, said: “This initiative is about giving those living with type 2 diabetes better access to healthcare professionals who understand the condition at clinics closer to home.
“I’m aware of all the good work that has gone into its development and feel is it very apt for its launch to coincide with World Diabetes Day 2017.
“I support the pro-active treatment and early intervention provided by this new Community Diabetes model.”
Welcoming the launch of the new service Belfast LCG chairman, Danny Power, said: “Type 2 diabetes is avoidable for many people if they are supported by their local community. It is very heartening to see the commitment of community groups, GPs and a whole range of Belfast Trust staff working together as a team to prevent or reduce harm from this disease.”
It is currently estimated that over 100,000 people are living with diabetes in Northern Ireland and over 3,000 new patients are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes each year. There is good evidence that many of the costly complications of diabetes can be prevented through education, which helps people self-manage their condition, combined with regular screening and clinical input.
Consultant Dr Glynis Magee said: “The new service will help more of those, whose diabetes is uncontrolled, to be seen sooner, more frequently and closer to home.
“New multidisciplinary clinics at seven sites across Belfast and an enhanced home visit service have been established, as well as improved integrated working between General Practice, secondary care and the community team. This investment and additional support should improve the experience of those living with type 2 diabetes across Belfast.”
GP lead and chair of the South Belfast Integrated Care Partnership, Dr Martin Cunningham, said: “This is a valuable resource for GPs to enhance their response to the increasing complexity of diabetes care.”
Dr Ian Clements, chairman of the Health and Social Care Board, added that the development of 17 Integrated Care Partnerships across Northern Ireland aimed to ensure that each person gets the care they need, in the right place, and at the right time.
“The establishment of the new Belfast community diabetes service and similar models of care are essential in the transformation of how we deliver care to our growing number of people with diabetes, many of whom are living with more complex needs.”