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Patient raises nearly £16k for new diabetes centre

Jean Hardy, Volunteer Fundraiser Friends of Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Dr Paul Smith, Lead Clinician for Diabetes and Endocrinology,

[T]he staggering donation was raised for Bay Hospitals Charity by Councillor Robert Redfern and will go towards the new diabetes centre at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, which he officially opened back in April.

Coun Redfern, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1980 and has attended the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) diabetes clinic since his diagnosis, raised £15,668 from a series of charity evenings during his time in office as Mayor of Lancaster in 2016/2017. The new centre was his chosen charity.

The diabetes centre at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) was inspired by a patient story at a Board of Directors meeting in 2014 and is dedicated to specialist outpatient services for people living with diabetes in North Lancashire. Consultant and nurse-led clinics opened in the centre in the first week of July.

Coun Redfern said: “This centre will benefit people from all over the area. Being involved with this project I feel overwhelming pride for all of those involved and what has been achieved.”

Services, at the new centre at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI), include consultant and nurse-led clinics for patients with diabetes, clinics for teenagers and young adults with diabetes, and clinics for those with a range of different hormonal disorders. The diabetes team would like to use this new facility to provide specialist insulin pump clinics and a second diabetic foot clinic in which to see high risk patients with foot ulceration that will hopefully help reduce the number of lower limb amputations in the district. There are also plans to use the centre for patent and staff training in diabetes care, supporting patients in self-management and opening opportunities to participate in research to local patients.

A recent national diabetes inpatient audit showed that almost 20% of inpatients at the RLI have diabetes and patients with diabetes stay in hospital longer than patients with diabetes who do not have the condition.

The new integrated service aims include:

  • Improving patient care and outcomes
  • Reducing hospital admissions
  • Improved performance for all clinics
  • Reduction of length of stay for inpatient diabetic foot disease to at or below the national average
  • Supporting education of staff and patients on self-care
  • Reduced clinic non-attendance rates for young adults with type 1 diabetes
  • Reducing major and minor lower limb amputation rates in North Lancashire –to at or below the national average

Deborah Slater, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, who has led the project, said: “We cannot thank Coun Redfern enough for his support. He really has gone above and beyond to raise awareness of diabetes locally and to help get the centre off the ground.

“Diabetes is such a multifaceted disease which requires multi-professional approach and what this centre means is that we can all work together in this centre to provide that care to truly improve the service that we deliver to our local population.

“Patient empowerment to self-manage their diabetes through education is an essential element of diabetes care. Local provision of structured education is well below national targets, and the IT and education facilities we have incorporated into the new diabetes centre will allow us to support the widening of local patient education provision.”

The new centre follows a national move to ensure that more complex patients with diabetes are seen in secondary care.

Dr Paul Smith, Lead Clinician for Diabetes and Endocrinology in UHMBT, said: “In recent times we have seen our diabetes clinics becoming increasingly focused on patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and in particular those being treated with insulin pumps, the number of which has grown year on year, and is now well over 100. As best practice demands multi-disciplinary care of such patients and the use of technology to provide data to guide treatment, dedicated insulin pump clinics such as we hope to provide in the centre are very much needed.”

UHMBT approved an investment of £75,000 towards the project in 2015.

The facilities within the diabetes centre include five consultation rooms, an investigation room, and the David Walmsley Resource Room which will be used as a reception area and for meetings and training. Staff decided to name the room after consultant David Walmsley, the first specialist in diabetes and endocrinology to be appointed at UHMBT, who began his post in 1995 and retired in 2016.

Refurbishments started in June 2016 to transform the former Coronary Care Unit in Med Unit 1. New lighting, flooring, sinks and toilets have been installed and the unit has been painted. The unit also features prints of Lancaster and the surrounding area by photographer Nina Claridge.

The centre is open Monday to Friday 8am-6pm.

The project itself was part of the Trust’s Listening into Action (LiA) initiative, which was launched in September 2014 to put the power back into the hands of Trust staff who lead on the improvements that they think the Trust should make for patients and staff.

Judith Read, Charity Coordinator, Bay Hospitals Charity, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to support Robert during his year as Mayor.  The time and effort he has put into raising funds for the diabetes centre has been phenomenal.  We are absolutely delighted to receive such a substantial amount of money which is testament to the great job he has done.  Our grateful thanks also go to Robert’s wife Linda who has supported him every step of the way.  Thank you for making a difference.”

Bay Hospitals Charity is a registered charity that raises funds to support University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust.  Donations received provide those little extras that help make the hospital experience better, funding things outside of the scope of the NHS.  It is the generosity of local communities that enables the charity to enhance and support the hospitals across Morecambe Bay and the lives of the 365,000 people that live here.

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