A new diabetes service has been introduced this month across Surrey Heartlands – the integrated Diabetes specialist nurse service. This will support all clinical areas for people with diabetes during their stay in hospital.

The integrated Diabetes specialist nurses (IDSNs) will provide co-ordinated and standardised care for people with diabetes who are having elective surgery during the preoperative stage/ peri-operative and for a short period post-operatively. The IDSNs will also support antenatal/preconception services at Royal Surrey County Hospital and Epsom hospital.

IDSNs are central to meeting the health and care needs of people with diabetes, including supporting effective self-management. According to a Diabetes UK survey, IDSNs reduce the length of stays in hospital, improve patient satisfaction and are cost effective.

The new service will work across Surrey Heartlands Health & Care Partnership to support people with diabetes in Royal Surrey County Hospital, Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals, Epsom Hospital and local community services. The new service will help to

  • Improve patient flow resulting in a reduced length of stay
  • Reduce inpatient risk including medication errors and hypoglycaemic events
  • Reduction in 30 day readmissions
  • Improve patient satisfaction
  • Improve communication between primary and secondary care

The service will also help to improve HbA1c targets. The term HbA1c refers to glycated haemoglobin. It develops when haemoglobin, a protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body, joins with glucose in the blood, becoming ‘glycated’.

By measuring glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), clinicians are able to get an overall picture of what our average blood sugar levels have been over a period of weeks/months. For people with diabetes this is important as the higher the HbA1c, the greater the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.