People registered with a Leicester GP practice and either living with type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes will soon be able to access a wide portfolio of support services all under one roof.
A new diabetes village opened its doors at the Merlyn Vaz Health and Social Care Centre on Spinney Hill Road, Leicester in June for an initial 6 month pilot.
The village is a pilot project developed by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in partnership with Silver Star Diabetes, a local health charity. It will be home to a range of services that are important for effective diabetes management, including blood sugar checks, lifestyle coaching advice, foot care, eye screening and diabetes education classes.
Previously, patients would have to make multiple visits to their GP practice for their regular blood sugar and insulin checks, with separate visits to different services and locations to receive the wider range of care. The new village concept means that local patients can drop in on a Thursday between the hours on 10am and 6pm and pick and choose the services they require all in one location. This means patients will be equipped with the right tools to manage their condition quickly and independently.
The services at the village can also be used by patients who are at high risk of developing diabetes; they don’t need to have a diabetes diagnosis.
Rather than making an appointment at their GP practice and potentially be referred to a specialist clinic based at one of the city hospitals, for the next six months patients can drop in at the village on a Thursday and get a diabetes check in just a few minutes.
In Leicester City, there is a higher than average number of people with diabetes (8.9% compared to 6.4% nationally) and this is expected to rise further to 12% by 2025. Leicester also has a higher proportion of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) residents compared to the UK national average and they are genetically more likely to get diabetes (at a higher risk).
Professor Azhar Farooqi, Chair of Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group and lead on diabetes, said: “We want people to use the village and come to us and tell us whether the diabetes village is a service they want to keep and whether it’s a service they will use. This is a first for the UK and we want to make sure we get it right for patients.”
Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Diabetes and MP for Leicester East said: “I am thrilled that Leicester City CCG has taken up the challenge of creating the first diabetes village in the UK. The idea was born out of the needs of diabetics such as myself and others having to make up to eight visits to different professionals on different days at different times and at different venues.
“There will now be a one stop shop so it will take just one visit. The partnerships that have been created with local charities, such as Silver Star Diabetes, means that the NHS will reach parts of the community which they couldn’t previously. Prevention is critical. I want to see a diabetes village in every city in the UK. Leicester City CCG should be warmly commended for showing the way by putting patients first. From being the capital city of diabetes we will become the champions of diabetic care.”
During that time engagement will be undertaken with the public to see if it is a service that they would like to see continue as part of their diabetes prevention and management.