Diabetes screening could help save lives

Kings B staff

Published on 18 December 2019

An extra blood test carried out on patients in East Kent Hospitals’ wards and emergency departments could prove a lifesaver.

Staff have introduced diabetes screening to help detect some of the half a million people thought to be unaware they are living with the condition.

Diabetes can have serious health implications if left untreated, and can affect the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. It can increase people’s chances of having a heart attack or stroke and can eventually prove fatal.

Many people are unaware of the symptoms or dismiss them as a normal part of getting older, so do not seek medical advice.

The scheme was started on Kings B ward at the William Harvey Hospital, thanks to the efforts of nurse Ani Ciovirta.

Ward manager Sally Wilson said: “Ani attended a course on diabetes run by the Trust and wondered how we as a ward could screen patients.

“We used information from Diabetes UK and online to create a form and introduced a needle prick blood test.

"The results are sent to GPs so patients don’t need to stay in hospital any longer than necessary and we make sure patients are given information when they go home.

“Early detection of Type 2 diabetes has the potential to save lives and reduce hospital admissions and the whole nursing team has been engage in this project to really make a difference.”

About a third of the people tested had an abnormal blood sugar result, and so far one has been confirmed as definitely having type 2 diabetes, and another two are pre-diabetic.

Sarah Gregory, specialist diabetes nurse, said: “It is important that we provide the best care to all our patients, and if someone has diabetes then we need to know.

“By introducing screening tests in some of our wards and departments we can pick up anyone who has not yet been diagnosed, and we can then discuss with them the best way to manage it, in hospital and when they go home.

“It is already having an effect, with several people’s undiagnosed diabetes picked up, which means better outcomes in the short term and an improvement in their health in the long term.”