A joint diabetes care initiative in Luton has been shortlisted for ‘Diabetes Care Initiative of the Year’ in the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Awards 2021. The project, which was co-developed by the Clinical Commissioning Group in Luton (now BLMK CCG) and Luton Adult Community Health Services, aimed to improve care and enhance safety at a time of unprecedented pressure on the NHS.
The initiative, which took place during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured staff from across the two organisations working together to proactively review people with Type 2 diabetes at highest risk of harm. They also formed a virtual Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), comprising a GP, Diabetes Specialist Pharmacists, Diabetes Specialist Nurse and District Nurses, to combine expertise and discuss ways to help people with more complex issues.
Over a 4 week period, over 70 people were reviewed by the virtual MDT. As well as improving care and safety, this had the effect of releasing 40 District Nurse visits every day. This was critical at a time when the district nursing service were working hard to help the hospital cope with a surge in demand relating to COVID-19.
Clinical Lead for the initiative, Dr Chirag Bakhai, said: “The project was a catalyst for a new way of working and the first step in transforming the way we care for diabetes in Luton. Staff from the CCG, General Practice, Community Services and Hospital Services have joined forces and work really closely together, with particular focus on proactive, timely care for people with the greatest clinical need.”
“The teams work across GP practices, checking data to find and support people at highest risk of harm, and drawing upon the combined expertise and experience of our weekly virtual MDT. This has allowed the people who need it most to get specialist care and support with much shorter waits and often without needing to leave their homes during the pandemic.”
Juliet Davies, Diabetes Specialist Nurse from CCS said: “By working together with other parts of the healthcare system, we were able to improve care and ensure safety. This initiative has benefitted patients, reduced the number of visits needed by district nurses, and ensured the needs of patients are at the centre of our ongoing virtual multi-disciplinary team working.”
The winners of the HSJ Value Awards 2021 will be announced in September 2021.