Pioneering NHS scheme is a life saver for people with diabetes

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A pioneering NHS scheme is helping to save the lives of people with diabetes in Sandwell and West Birmingham. The news comes ahead of Diabetes Prevention Week which runs from 16-22 April 2018.

In a bid to improve the quality of healthcare and the outcomes for patients the Primary Care Commissioning Framework (PCCF) scheme was launched in 2016 by NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in partnership with local GP practices.

Diabetes is a key priority for the CCG as the number of people with the condition in Sandwell and West Birmingham is higher than the national average.

As well as the direct consequences of diabetes to the quality of life, it is also a major contributor to life threatening conditions such as kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.

Before the implementation of PCCF, it is estimated there were more than 5,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes in Sandwell & West Birmingham. Since the introduction of the scheme, 2,914 patients have now been diagnosed with the condition. Assuming that one sixth of these patients would not have been diagnosed for another 3 years, there is evidence that the early identification may have prevented 10 deaths in the CCG area over a 5 year period.

National guidelines suggest that GPs should be providing 8 key care processes to those with diabetes, in order to minimise the risk of poor health outcomes. These are; HbA1c (glycated haemoglobin that develops when haemoglobin, a protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body, joins with glucose in the blood, becoming 'glycated'.) blood pressure, cholesterol, serum creatinine, urine albumin, foot surveillance and body mass index and smoking.

As part of the PCCF scheme GP practices were required to increase the proportion of those with diabetes receiving 8 key care processes by 10%. A total of 71/86 practices met the target.

Dr Nick Harding, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG said:

"We are delighted that our PCCF scheme is helping to make a significant difference to diabetes care in the area. The development of this Primary Care Commissioning Framework is an exciting opportunity for us, collectively, to deliver something special for primary care and our patients. This arguably represents the single biggest initiative we have developed as a member organisation.

"Combating diabetes is crucial with prevalence of the condition in our area amongst the highest in England. We have achieved further successes in tackling diabetes with the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which is a really important piece of work to help patients reduce their chance of becoming diabetic. Patients in Sandwell and West Birmingham who are referred on to the programme have an ideal opportunity to delay or reduce their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

"Type 2 diabetes can cause very serious health problems but sadly more people than ever are developing the condition, despite it being largely preventable. However, the good news is that around three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with some simple lifestyle changes. These include eating a healthy, balanced diet; maintaining a healthy weight; and taking regular exercise."

An animated You Tube video on the benefits of the PCCF scheme and the results that have been achieved for patients is available to watch by clicking here