The Royal United Hospital, Bath, has introduced a new acute diabetes service, which is improving the way it cares for patients with the condition.

Between 15 to 20 per cent of all the patients seen at the RUH have diabetes and this number is predicted to continue to increase. 

Treatment is generally more complex and their hospital stay can be longer than for those without diabetes.

In the past the RUH relied on individual wards letting its diabetes team know that they had patients with diabetes.

The patient may have already been in for several days already and, as a result, their specialist diabetes care may not have been implemented as quickly as it could have been.

The acute diabetes service, which has been in operation for three months, has a more proactive approach, with a team of diabetes nurses making daily rounds of the Emergency Department or the Medical Assessment Unit to identify patients who have diabetes, bringing specialist care to patients quickly.

They carry out assessments, including examination of the feet, and provide a care plan to manage the patient’s diabetes whilst they are in hospital, and advise nurses who are caring for the patient.

This information is also sent to GPs and community nurses to form part of any on-going care required once the patient is discharged.

Dr Marc Atkin, consultant in diabetes, said: “This more rapid service has the potential to significantly improve the safety and quality of care we give to our patients when they come into hospital, and ensure their stay is as smooth as possible.

"Our patients already tell us their care is good but we know it can be better.”

Since starting the project the number of patients being reviewed in the Medical Assessment Unit has increased by tenfold; this means that the hospital has assessed over 250 patients that may not have been seen by the diabetes team.

The RUH will be reviewing the impact of the service at the end of its first six months with a view to introducing it to other areas of the hospital.