Programme to help improve care for people with diabetes wins award

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An innovative programme set up in Bedfordshire to help improve the care people with diabetes receive has scooped an award.

Diabetes patients are now able to visit their local pharmacists to get help with new meters to monitor their blood glucose levels themselves, saving them time and helping them stay healthier.

The success of the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) programme was recognised by its peers as it won the prestigious NHS PrescQIPP Innovation award for Long Term Conditions 2013.

Bedfordshire CCG set up the new programme with local pharmacies to improve diabetes care while introducing reliable and more cost-effective meters and associated test strips.

Some diabetes patients need to be able to monitor their blood glucose themselves as an integral part of their self-management plan.

Patients who switch meters are given a new meter with corresponding test-strips available from their GP on prescription.

Community pharmacies were invited to provide this enhanced service to improve service for patients through the pharmacies’ flexibility and extended opening hours.

Pharmacy staff have been trained to conduct consultations and demonstrate use of the new meters to patients which helps them make an informed choice about their diabetes care.

Arif Esmail, from Wootton Pharmacy, said: “This is great news for diabetes patients. As part of our consultation in the pharmacy we have the opportunity to extend our range of services to them on any other medicines-related issues they may have. It’s a great convenience for our customers as they don’t need to make an appointment and we have longer opening hours than GPs.

“We are also able to make better use of our staff’s skills and increase their confidence.”

Belinda Ekuban, pharmaceutical lead for the Bedfordshire CCG NHS Chiltern Vale locality, said: “We are delighted with this recognition. We have successfully brought community pharmacies into primary care by harnessing and expanding on their particular skills and relationship with local patients.

This is a programme which will benefit all diabetes patients, save time and money. It’s a model that is readily transferable to other services as well.”