New service launched for Diabetes Week

GP Care is delighted to be working in partnership with Sirona care & health to deliver the Sirona Diabetes Advice and Learning Link Service (DiALL).  Using the GP Care Consultant Link system, this is a telephone based access service that aims to support GPs and other practice based health professionals with immediate and direct access to the Diabetes Specialist Nurse Team.  The Service has been successfully piloted in six practices since the start of May and will now be launched across the remaining GP practices in South Gloucestershire starting on 13th June to coincide with Diabetes Week.

Diabetes is a lifelong health condition that affects around 3.5 million people in the UK plus approximately 549,000 people who don’t even know they have it.

There are two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.  In both these cases, having diabetes affects how well your body is able to absorb glucose.  Glucose is needed as a source of energy for all the cells in your body. It can be found in some of the foods you eat (carbohydrates) and is also stored in your liver and muscles to be used as extra energy when needed.  Glucose is broken down in the stomach then a hormone called insulin, which is created by the pancreas, acts like a key allowing the glucose to enter the body’s cells

For people who have Type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune response means that antibodies destroy the cells in the pancreas that create the insulin.  Without insulin the cells can’t receive the energy they need and the body’s glucose levels rise.  Type 2 diabetes is different in that the pancreas produces insulin but either not enough to maintain optimum levels of glucose or the insulin produced doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance).  This means that the glucose remains in the blood stream.  Sometimes the body has to use up fat and muscle for energy and this can cause you to be unwell. The body also tries to get rid of excess glucose in the urine and makes you very thirsty and have to go to the toilet a lot.

Type 1 diabetes is more common in the under 40’s age group, and is often diagnosed in childhood.  Type 2 diabetes is more common in the over 40’s (although can appear at a younger age in some ethnic groups such as South Asian people, who are at greater risk).  Common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination – especially at night, increased thirst, tiredness, weight loss, thrush or genital itching, blurred vision and slow healing of wounds.  Whilst there is no cure, it can often be treated by changing your diet and introducing lifestyle changes. The treatment for Type 1 diabetes is always insulin.  Treatments for Type 2 diabetes can be diet alone, tablets or insulin injections.

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be overwhelming and can have a big impact on a patient’s day to day activities as they learn to understand and manage their condition.  The Sirona DiALL line will enable GPs and other practice based health care professionals to quickly access specialist advice for patients regarding their diabetes management, advice on treatment plans or changes to treatment or advice about a diagnostic result.  The advice line can also help the GP to make a decision on whether their patient should be referred to the hospital or not.  The patients will gain confidence that their diabetes care decisions are discussed with them and their primary care health providers as well as their needs being assessed by diabetes specialists  to avoid unnecessary hospital visits and keep their care closer to home.

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