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Diabetes nurses may cut costs

5th March 2008

A year-long study has concluded that putting specialist diabetic nurses into emergency medical units could save the NHS up to £100m every year.

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The move, tested at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, saw a dramatic reduction in hospital stays by people with diabetes.

Over a 12-month period, specialist diabetes nurses made daily visits during the week to the unit.

They identified 111 people with diabetes and of those, 47 were sent home within 24 hours compared with an average stay off 11 days.

In Leicester, the number of hospital days caring for diabetes patients fell by 42% with a saving of £111,155 a year. However, researchers suggest if this was applied across the whole of the NHS, that saving would amount to £100m.

Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN) Helen Atkins, who was involved in the research, said: “Our research shows how proactive DSN intervention can facilitate more appropriate care and help save money.

“In addition, our trial only used a DSN from Monday to Friday. Extending the service to weekends could generate even more savings.?

Patients with diabetes occupy 10% of beds and are admitted twice as often and stay twice as long as patients without the condition, taking up more than one million days a year in hospital between them.

The charity Diabetes UK said the research was further proof of the vital role DSNs play in improving the health of people with diabetes.

Junior health minister Ann Keen said it was vital that people with diabetes in hospital were identified and treated accordingly.

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