Diabetes model by Portsmouth hospital trust saved NHS £2m

Partha Kar, diabetes consultant and clinical lead at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham
Partha Kar, diabetes consultant and clinical lead at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham

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A HEALTH scheme set up in Portsmouth has been hailed a success after saving the NHS millions of pounds and causing a huge drop in the number of diabetes-related hospital admissions.

The super six model of diabetes care, created by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust five years ago, has been praised in a report, which estimates the local health service has saved £1.9m since the scheme’s introduction.

What the report has shown is the model is a good thing

Dr Partha Kar

Meanwhile, the number of major amputations as a result of diabetes in the Portsmouth area has been reduced by 39 per cent – a huge boost in the fight to stem the rise in people being diagnosed with the condition.

Dr Partha Kar, diabetes consultant at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, said he was pleased with how the model was going.

‘We are happy with the results in the report,’ he said.

‘The credit goes to the GPs who have done the hard work and the practitioners who have been amazing.

‘When we introduced the super six model, we wanted to change care but not cause any harm.

‘What the report has shown is the model is a good thing. It is very, very simple and based on only a few things.

‘We need specialist people to look at some patients, but some services can be provided by primary care.’

The super six scheme is used across south east Hampshire and Portsmouth. It looks at defining clearly with GPs, commissioners and specialists which services are needed to treat diabetes, focusing on more community care and redefining specialists’ roles.

That can include using specialist doctors, GP visits and ‘virtual treatment’ by phone or email.

It is called ‘super six’ because it focuses on six areas: inpatient diabetes; foot diabetes; poorly-controlled Type 1 diabetes; insulin pump services, low eGFR or patients on renal dialysis, and antenatal diabetes.

The report said the model has seen the skills of specialist consultants put to better use in an acute trust like QA Hospital and patients are happy with the service.

Due to its success, Dr Kar said other illnesses could be treated using the model.

‘A similar model could be rolled out for consideration for other illnesses such as respiratory conditions,’ he said.

​‘For the NHS most of the problems are about access. If you go to the GP, they may want to talk to a specialist and you have to wait for that to happen.

‘That causes delays and the model is about reducing that and improving patients’ care.’

Councillor Luke Stubbs, cabinet member for public health at Portsmouth City Council, welcomed the model.

He said: ‘Part of the future in health care is for people to spend less time in hospital having appointments and admissions and to have their illnesses treated in the community.

‘I welcome this innovative work by Portsmouth Hospitals Trust.’