People with type 2 diabetes to benefit from HSE services and care closer to home

HSE Press Release
Monday, 13 November 2023
  • Patients now referred by GP for specialist diabetes care in HSE integrated care hubs

Ahead of World Diabetes Day (Tuesday, 14 November), the HSE is highlighting new developments in care for people with complicated type 2 diabetes, supporting person-centred, integrated, accessible care as close to home as possible.

GPs are now referring patients to an integrated care hub in the community for specialist diabetes care as part of this service. This reduces patients being referred to an acute hospital for a scheduled care review. It’s anticipated this will reduce referrals to Emergency Departments (EDs). One of the supports available is the DISCOVER Diabetes programme. This group-structured education programme is available in the care hubs and is FREE to all people with type 2 diabetes.

David Waldron attended the Russell Centre, Tallaght Cross West, after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2022. He shares the significant benefit of attending an integrated care hub and participating in the DISCOVER Diabetes programme has had on his health. “I lost 6 stone and my blood sugars halved within a year, which is phenomenal, and I’ve been told I don’t have to go back to the diabetic nurse. It’s thanks to the excellent care and information I received in the hub. The team make it fun, interactive and engaging for people.”

Supported by both the Enhanced Community Care (ECC) programme and Modernised Care Pathways (MCPs), the service is already having a positive impact on waiting lists. Connolly Hospital saw a 58% decrease in its outpatient waiting list for new patients with type 2 diabetes, down from 262 in February to 110 in June this year.

Professor Derek O’Keeffe, National Clinical Lead for Diabetes, HSE, said: “Diabetes is a long-term health condition that needs ongoing treatment and management. The new development in care provides a more efficient service and empowers people to self-manage their health and prevent the complications of diabetes. Multidisciplinary teams provide care based on the needs of patients. This supports direct referrals to podiatry, dietetics, and nursing services, all of which in the past may have resulted in a referral to an acute hospital but now means the care and services are provided in the community and as close to the patient’s home as possible.”

The Lancet report published earlier this year estimates that over 1.31 billion people worldwide could be living with diabetes by 2050, describing it as ‘the defining disease of the 21st century’. The increase (from 529 million in 2021) is expected due to more people developing type 2 diabetes.

“As well as supporting people to manage their diabetes, it’s crucial to provide prevention programmes for people who have pre-diabetes or are at risk of developing diabetes,” Professor O’Keeffe continued. “A national Diabetes Prevention Programme is also being rolled out for people who have pre-diabetes. With effective lifestyle behaviour changes, such as being active, losing weight if overweight and taking healthy food choices, type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented.”

Highlighting the ongoing work for people with diabetes, Dr Siobhán Ní Bhriain, National Clinical Director, Integrated Care, HSE, said: “Our National Clinical Programme for Diabetes is continually improving access to high-quality diabetes care. The roll out of diabetes integrated care in community hubs is a significant step in supporting people with type 2 diabetes. A new model of care for diabetes in pregnancy is being produced, and guidelines for type 1 diabetes are also being updated.”

Last updated on: 13 / 11 / 2023