A new system for making sure inpatients with diabetes get the care they need is improving diabetes healthcare at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, according to findings of a project presented at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference.
The Trust introduced a digital system in their hospitals in 2010 to make the best use of specialist diabetes healthcare professionals by ensuring patients with diabetes are assessed against national criteria after being admitted to hospital and then referred appropriately using an easy-to-use process which automatically communicates between hospital staff.
People with diabetes account for around 15% of all hospital beds across the UK and the Trust believed that this proportion was even higher in the local area.
In just the first four months using the new electronic system in the Trust, the number of patients with diabetes being referred to a specialist team increased almost four-fold. By 2012, over a third of patients (35.6%) across both hospitals were seen by a specialist team, which is above the national average for England (32.1%).
The new system is an extension of the national NHS initiative, ‘Think Glucose’, which aims to improve the care, outcomes and experience of people with diabetes who are admitted to hospital. ‘Think Glucose’ encourages the effective use of inpatient diabetes specialist teams who can provide expert and individual care for those who need it.