A Wolverhampton community specialist nurse has presented research at a major diabetes conference on the importance of maintaining posts like hers.
Sonya Smith evaluated the value of specialist diabetes nurses by reviewing clinical and policy literature, surveying local patients and carrying out a cost analysis.
Of those surveyed, 99% felt listened to by their specialist nurse and 96% felt more confident in managing their condition as a result of their appointments.
The study found involving patients in their care was crucial to help them manage their condition independently, and there were potential savings to be made from using community diabetes specialist nurses.
Ms Smith said: “It is very important to me and my colleagues to ensure that the value of expertise and knowledge of the role is recognised and is supported within the NHS.”
She presented her findings today at the Diabetes UK professional conference in Glasgow.
The charity also expressed concern over cuts to specialist nurse positions in a new position statement on the issue.
“We know that the number of these skilled nurses is reducing”
Pete Shorrick, Diabetes UK’s regional manager in the Midlands, said: “Sonya’s work adds extra weight to our knowledge that diabetes specialist nurses are crucial in supporting independence and in helping people self-manage their diabetes more effectively.
“There is now more and more evidence that they play a vital role in preventing expensive complications and in supporting people with complex needs.”
“Unfortunately, we know that the number of these skilled nurses is reducing,” he added. “We worry that it will lead to longer waiting times for specialist support, more unnecessary amputations, more people losing their sight and far poorer health outcomes.”
- Diabetes UK position statement − Diabetes Specialist Nurses: Improving Patient Outcomes and Reducing Costs