Training to treat diabetics not enough

PATIENTS will be put at risk because doctors and nurses in Suffolk have not been given enough training to treat diabetics, it has been warned.

Rebecca Lefort

PATIENTS will be put at risk because doctors and nurses in Suffolk have not been given enough training to treat diabetics, it has been warned.

A change of policy from NHS Suffolk, the county's primary care trust (PCT), will mean more type 2 diabetes sufferers will be treated in the community, by GPs and nurses, rather than at Ipswich Hospital's world-renowned diabetes centre - which could lose up to a third of its patients.

Health campaigners have already warned the decision could leave the specialist centre's future in doubt, and now fresh concerns have been raised over the quality of care that will be left on offer.

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Experts say no formal training has been carried out for community medics and there are still no specialist diabetes nurses in east Suffolk.

The growing diabetes controversy comes as outrage mounts over plans to treat emergency heart attack patients outside Suffolk.

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Gary Miller, a founder member of the East Suffolk Diabetes User Group, said: “It is literally putting patients at risk.

“I think if they can get the service right and it can be guaranteed that the staff are properly trained it will be a great benefit to everyone.

“But there has not been any training, or a mention of what training should, who should carry it out, at what level they should be trained to, and who will fund it.

“The PCT is bulldozing everyone into accepting something that was never agreed by the diabetes network.

“It is absolutely disgraceful.”

NHS Suffolk had said many GPs and nurses were already trained to help initiate insulin treatment for type 2 diabetics, something which requires 24-7 support, and that the changes had been designed by the diabetes network and clinicians, but Mr Miller said this was not correct.

Meanwhile health campaigner Prue Rush, a former GP nurse who was trained at Ipswich's diabetes centre, added: “It is putting a huge responsibility on the nurses who are doing a bit of everything and are becoming jacks of all trades.

“The burden on the community will be overwhelming and it is denying patients the chance to go to a specialist unit.

“The centre at the hospital is so so good, if we lost that it would be terrible.”

When contacted by the EADT NHS Suffolk reiterated its view that “Matching the needs of the patients with the skills of those who treat them will ensure the best outcomes for people with diabetes in Suffolk.”

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