An evaluation of a new model of diabetes care claims that it has saved the NHS as much as £2 million in just 12 months.
The ‘Super Six’ model of diabetes care run by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust helped reduce hospital admissions and prevent complications such as heart attacks and amputations since it began five years ago.
This is according to a study published in the journal Diabetes and Primary Care.
Considering the success of this scheme, NHS bosses are now considering rolling it out to other regions within the NHS system.
NHS chief Simon Stevens has championed this approach as part of a shifting care model for the NHS system.
Under the scheme, which first started in 2010, GPs across the six CCGs in the area were invited to take over the care of patients who were under the management of specialist diabetes clinics based in hospitals.
Practices then received support from a community diabetes team, consisting of both consultants and specialist nurses.
As a result of this process, consultants estimated that strokes have been reduced by 20%, with the rate of amputations cut by 40%.
There were also significant falls in the rate of hospital admission, with the overall savings from the operation in the region of £2 million annually.
The consultant team concluded that there have been massive benefits to this new approach to diabetes.
“The restructuring of our services, while not always perfect or easy, has led to improvements in patient and practitioner satisfaction, HbA1c and long-term complications. This has been achieved without major uplift in resources and has resulted in cost savings, both in real time by reducing follow-up appointments and hospital bed days, and long-term by optimising the health of our community”.
It is notable that approximately £200,000 has already been invested in the enhanced services program, with the aim of ensuring that doctors and community nurses are trained adequately in the management of diabetes.
Dr Andrew Green, GPC clinical and prescribing lead, acknowledged the scale of challenge that the diabetes epidemic represents, while also striking a positive note for the future.
“Diabetes is, and will become increasingly, a huge challenge. It is recognised that the current model of care often leaves GPs struggling to get prompt advise when it is needed. I believe that model of care such as the “Super Six” model have great potential to improve outcomes for patients, and ensure that the skills of everyone in the diabetes care-chain is used appropriately. Successful models do, however, have a number of common features; adequate funding, full engagement with GPs, and rapid access to specialist advice”.