A new charity campaign has been launched, which highlights the importance of nurses referring diabetes patients to structured education.
Diabetes UK is calling on healthcare professionals to help patients get the self-management education they need by finding out what education services are available in their area and promoting them.
The charity’s “Taking Control” campaign has been launched this week, ahead of World Diabetes Day on 14 November.
”We want nurses to grasp this opportunity to help patients living with diabetes better manage their condition on a daily basis by referring them to an education course”
It is highlighting that the failure of many areas to commission education courses for everyone with diabetes is one of the main reasons that only 3.6% of people newly diagnosed with diabetes in England receiving an education course.
But nurses also have a vital role in improving uptake, as patients are more likely to attend a course if their healthcare professional is positive about the benefits, said Diabetes UK.
Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew said: “Most people with diabetes spend around three hours a year with a healthcare professional. In the remaining 8,757 hours, they manage their condition alone and so we need to make sure we are giving them the tools to do so.
“We want nurses to grasp this opportunity to help patients living with diabetes better manage their condition on a daily basis by referring them to an education course,” he added.
Siobhan Pender, a senior diabetes specialist nurse, said that if nurses did not regularly refer to education courses, they should attend a “taster session” themselves to gain a better understanding of the benefits.
“A few minutes explaining the benefits of an education programme can pay huge dividends long-term,” she said. “It is also important to listen to the patient’s concerns and aim to guide, rather than direct, them to the decision that attending an education course will be beneficial.”
”A few minutes explaining the benefits of an education programme can pay huge dividends long-term”
National guidance recommends that clinical commissioning groups commission specific courses for people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
A freedom of information request by the charity revealed that over a third of CCGs do not currently do this.
Of the 208 CCGs that responded to the request, 73 said they do not commission structured diabetes education both for people with type 1 and 2.
Meanwhile, the National Institute for Health and Social Care recommends that all diabetes patients receive a structured educational programme that fulfils nationally-agreed criteria from diagnosis, with an annual review and access to ongoing education.