A new diabetes centre at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), which was inspired by a patient story at a Board of Directors meeting in 2014, was opened by the Right Worshipful the Mayor of Lancaster, Councillor Robert Redfern on Wednesday 5 April.
The centre will be dedicated to specialist outpatient services for people living with diabetes in North Lancashire. Consultant and nurse-led clinics will move over to the centre in the next few months.
Services, at the new centre at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), will include a specialist insulin pump clinic, endocrinology clinics, IT and educational facilities to aid staff training, patient self-care and research. There will be an additional diabetic foot clinic to see high risk patients which it is hoped will help reduce the number of lower limb amputations and a specialist diabetes nurse service.
A recent national diabetes inpatient audit showed that almost 20% of inpatients at the RLI have diabetes and patients with diabetes stay in hospital longer than patients with diabetes who do not have the condition.
Patient Bryan Maudsley, of Lancaster, said: “It is fantastic that patients have really been listened to. Coming today I see that many of the things we discussed at the first Big Conversation are in place. I can’t speak of the team highly enough, they are all fantastic.”
Nancy Ferris, of Heysham near Lancaster, who has suffered from Diabetes since birth and attended the event with her husband Harry, added: “This new centre is going to make such a difference for patients in the area. It’s going to be a lot easier than going to see different people at different times from different sections of the community for our care.”
Coun Redfern was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1980 and has attended the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) diabetes clinic every three months since his diagnosis. He backed the centre in May 2016 and has raised more than £10,000 for Bay Hospitals Charity. The money has gone towards the Diabetes Centre. He cut a ribbon to mark the event surrounded by Trust Chairman Pearse Butler, Executive Chief Nurse Sue Smith, staff, patients, members of Diabetes UK and local user group Lancaster iPump.
Coun Redfern said: “This centre will benefit people from all over the area. Being involved with this project I feel overwhelming pride for all of those involved and what has been achieved.”
The integrated service aims include:
- Improving patient care and outcomes
- Reducing hospital admissions
- Improved performance for all clinics so all patients are seen on their indicative review date
- Reduction of length of stay for inpatient diabetic foot disease – from 175.1 nights per 1,000, people with diabetes to at or below the national average of 163.2 nights.
- Supporting education of staff and patients on self-care
- Reduced clinic DNA rates for young adults with type 1 diabetes to the Trust’s target of 5%
- Reducing major and minor lower limb amputation rates in North Lancashire – from 1.4/1000 people with diabetes to at or below the national average of 0.8 per 1000.
Deborah Whittle, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, who has led the project, said: “I’m very pleased that we have formally opened the Diabetes Centre. Diabetes is such a multifaceted disease which requires multi-professional approach and what this centre means is that we can all work together in this centre to provide that care to truly improve the service that we deliver to our local population.
“Patient empowerment to self-manage their diabetes through education is an essential element of diabetes care. Local provision of structured education is well below national targets, and the IT and education facilities we have incorporated into the new diabetes centre will allow us to support the widening of local patient education provision.
“The Mayor of Lancaster has given us fantastic support and has really raised the bar for this centre and raised greater awareness of diabetes locally.”
The new centre follows a national move to ensure that more complex patients with diabetes are seen in secondary care.
Dr Paul Smith, Lead Clinician for Diabetes and Endocrinology in UHMBT, said: “In recent times we have seen our Diabetes Clinics becoming increasingly focused on patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and in particular those being treated with insulin pumps, the number of which has grown year on year and is now over 100. As best practice demands multi-disciplinary care of such patients and the use of technology to provide data to guide treatment, dedicated insulin pump clinics such as we hope to provide in the Centre are needed.”
Dr Paul Smith added: “Over the last few years The Trust has seen a considerable increase in the numbers of patients referred with different endocrine and metabolic conditions, including thyroid and parathyroid disease, adrenal disease, pituitary disease, sex hormone problems and problems of high cholesterol and blood fats. This expansion has in part been fuelled by increased referrals to the Trust’s Endocrine Surgical team with whom we work closely and hold weekly specialist MDTs.”
“We do not however have the clinic capacity in outpatients to meet demand and so it is hugely important that the new centre will give the team additional capacity and flexibility for endocrinology clinics and we hope the introduction of dedicated clinics for patients with hyperlipidaemia.”
UHMBT approved an investment of £75,000 towards the project in 2015.
The facilities within the Diabetes Centre include five consultation bays, an investigation room, and the David Walmsley Resource Room which will be used as a reception area and for meetings and training. Staff decided to name the room after consultant David Walmsley, the first specialist in Diabetes and Endocrinology to be appointed at UHMBT, who began his post in 1995 and retired in 2016.
Dr Walmsley, who cut a cake to mark the official opening, said: “I’m delighted to come back and see this wonderful resource opened up and I really do hope that this is going to take us forward onto a new level past all of the progression we’ve made so far and to empower all of our patients that have worked with us and helped raise the money to push this project forward.”
Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, presented back a “Quality Through Teamwork” National Health Service Award which she was awarded along with Dr Walmsley, Mrs Sylvia Booth, Staff Nurse Christine Haughton and Sister Mandy Plackett when they worked together developing a diabetes team in 1997.
Refurbishments started in June 2016 to transform the former Coronary Care Unit in Med Unit 1. New lighting sinks, toilets have been installed and the unit has been painted. The unit also features prints of Lancaster and the surrounding area by photographer Nina Claridge.
Once clinics start the centre will be open initially Monday to Friday 8am-6pm.
The project itself was part of the Trust’s Listening into Action (LiA) initiative, which was launched in September 2014 to put the power back into the hands of Trust staff who lead on the improvements that they think the Trust should make for patients and staff.