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Services for diabetic children a priority

PUBLISHED: 10:02 31 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:47 06 July 2010

CHILDREN with diabetes can expect improved services and better access to screening in the future as health bosses in Norfolk tackle the condition as a priority.

CHILDREN with diabetes can expect improved services and better access to screening in the future as health bosses in Norfolk tackle the condition as a priority.

Last year a series of failings were identified in children's services for diabetes with a lack of specialist care and long waiting times for, in particular, foot services in parts of the county.

People with diabetes are more at risk of developing foot problems because they are susceptible to poor circulation and loss of sensation which can lead to gangrene and limb amputation.

In November last year Norfolk's health overview and scrutiny committee established a working group to examine aspects of the service provided to people with diabetes and monitor children's services.

It was formed after news that patients in Yarmouth and Waveney and also parts of West Norfolk were suffering from long-running shortages of podiatrists with more than 200 people on long waiting lists and people who need to be seen within three months waiting more than six months.

The group has gathered information and evidence by meeting with representatives of diabetes networks, clinicians and frontline children's services staff.

An NHS Norfolk spokesman said: “Diabetes care has been agreed as one of the priorities within the NHS Norfolk's Children's Commissioning Strategy. A review of the services was held recently and actions are already underway to further develop and improve services and provision.

“For example, NHS Norfolk and partner agencies commission a range of counselling and mental health services for children and young people, including the Family Solutions Teams and the Mancroft Advice Project, both of which offer support to children and young people with diabetes.

“Additional psychologist support is being recruited within the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust, and similar support has already been established within the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“We have also commissioned the equivalent of an additional 3.5 Diabetic Specialist Nurses within the NNUH, and seen increases in the number of children receiving insulin pump therapy.”

Also a sustained training programme for foot screening in Central Norfolk was launched this month and funded by NHS Norfolk.

The programme aims to increase the skills of up to 100 nurses each year, who work within community and GP practice-based settings and who perform foot examination on diabetic patients.

A spokesman explained that this programme, delivered by a principal podiatrist in diabetes, was aimed at avoiding some of the complications diabetes patients can suffer, including limb amputation.

The findings of the working group will be published on October 15 and the progress and changes will be discussed at the Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, September 3.

Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting at 10am in the Edwards Room, County Hall, Norwich.

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