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Plans unveiled to ‘transform’ diabetes services in NI

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A draft strategic framework and investment package worth £1.7m have been unveiled for diabetes care in Northern Ireland, which ministers claim will “transform services”.

The money includes a £1m allocation from the recently announced £30m health and social care “transformation fund”, set up to support projects focused on innovation, prevention and collaboration.

“Diabetes is one of the biggest challenges facing us and demands a bold and imaginative response”

Simon Hamilton

The investment will focus on a number of high priority areas, said the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

These include implementing a diabetes foot care pathway, enhancing access to structured diabetes education for newly diagnosed type 2 patients, improving access to insulin pumps and improving services for women who develop gestational diabetes.

The funding will also support the establishment of a diabetes network to “underpin a more collaborative approach” to improving the health and wellbeing of people with diabetes and those at risk of developing it, said the department.

Northern Ireland health minister Simon Hamilton said: “This £1.7m investment package will actively support a more innovative approach to how diabetes services are designed and delivered in the future.”

Mr Hamilton also launched a consultation on a draft Diabetes Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland.

“This is an important development in addressing the challenges faced by people in Northern Ireland living with diabetes”

David Chaney

He said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest challenges facing our health and social care system today and it demands a bold and imaginative response.

He added that the framework would “transform not only the way in which we provide diabetes services, but more importantly the lives of those living with the condition”.

David Chaney, Diabetes UK director for Northern Ireland, welcomed the launch of the framework, which the charity advised on.

He said: “This is an important development in addressing the challenges faced by our population and people in Northern Ireland living with diabetes.”

Chief medical officer for Northern Ireland Dr Michael McBride added: “I am delighted at the launch of the consultation of the draft framework and I welcome the emphasis it puts on both the provision of high quality services as well as renewed efforts on preventing cases of type 2 diabetes.”

The draft framework was developed by an expert group chaired by the CMO and comprising a range of stakeholders, including Diabetes UK and health and social care professionals.

It is structured around seven “key themes” including supporting self-management, a collaborative approach to service design and innovative approaches to service delivery.

The framework was developed in response to the recommendations of a review of diabetes in Northern Ireland, which was published in June 2014.

The consultation period will run from 8 March to 31 May.

  1. Seven key themes in strategic framework
  2. A Partnership Approach to Service Transformation - Clinical Leadership and User Involvement
  3. Supporting Self-management - Empowering People through Structured Diabetes Education
  4. Prevention, Early Detection and Delaying Complications
  5. Using information to Optimise Services and Improve Outcomes for People Living With Diabetes
  6. Innovative Services for People Living with Diabetes, Particularly Those Requiring Bespoke Treatment and Care
  7. Enhancing the Skills of Frontline Staff
  8. Encouraging Innovation
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