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Clinical Effectiveness Group

Initiative to improve equal access to diabetes treatment wins Quality in Care Diabetes Award

Using CEG’s software tools, GP practices across North East London reviewed the care of hundreds of people with type 1 diabetes to ensure they can access the treatment they need, regardless of gender, ethnicity, language, disability or wealth. The region has since seen an 11% increase in the numbers of patients re-engaging with diabetes specialists at local hospitals and community care centres. On 13 October, it was announced that the initiative won a Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes Award, under the category: Patient Care Pathway, Secondary and Community. 

An older woman raises her hand as part of an activity in a community centre

Credit: Age-positive image library, Centre for Ageing Better 

The judges said:

"This entry was the overwhelming favourite for the patient care pathway category. The judges were impressed with the patient-centricity, alongside the data-driven and evidence-based approach employed by creators of this entry. It used multiple initiatives with an excellent steer on quality improvement which continued during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

About the initiative

With one-to-one support from CEG’s primary care facilitators, 150 GP practices ran CEG’s searches on the patient records held at their practice. The search results identified patients with type 1 diabetes who may need additional support, including people at high risk of complications and people who have missed several appointments. The searches are designed to pick up demographics (including age, gender and ethnicity) medical conditions and other relevant information that is coded in the patient record. Practice teams used this insight to reach out to high-risk patients and offer a personalised approach to overcome potential barriers to accessing diabetes care. 

A Specialist Diabetes Nurse joined the review at each practice, allowing the team to confidently identify high-risk patients who were most in need of discussion or intervention. Patients who were not fluent in English were matched with a health care professional who could converse with them in their native language, or with a translation service. Practices also tailored their approach depending on how comfortable patients were with using technology. 

Wider implementation of this approach could overcome similar barriers to treatment for many more patients with type 1 diabetes across the country, reducing inequalities and variation in care.

The initiative is a collaboration between CEG, East London Health and Care Partnership, Barts Health NHS Trust and Homerton University Hospital. 

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