Specialised diabetes care gets closer to people’s homes

Ian Gallen-webThere is good news for people with diabetes in Berkshire West. Renowned consultant, Dr Ian Gallen has been appointed jointly by Clinical Commissioning Groups in Berkshire West and the Royal Berkshire Hospital as a Community Diabetologist.

Dr Gallen, who worked as a Consultant Physician in Diabetes/Endocrinology at Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust took up his post from October 1. Apart from the experience of working closely with local people, Dr Gallen has worked with Olympic champions who have had diabetes, devising special programmes for them.

In a move which will truly integrate acute and community care, he will spend more than two thirds of his time in the community and the remaining one third working in the acute trust. He aims to improve local management of diabetes care by providing educational support to local GP practices and by having clinics in the community that patients can easily access. An important part of his work will be the development of 'Virtual clinics' where Dr Gallen will meet the 'diabetes team' at a surgery, along with the local Diabetes Specialist Nurse and discuss high-risk patients, giving direct advice about how to improve their management.

Berkshire West has around 16,000 people living with diabetes. Diabetes care accounts for 10% of the total NHS budget - and the proportion is growing.

Dr Richard Croft, Primary Care Diabetes Lead for Berkshire West CCGs said quality of care greatly depends on clinicians' and patients' knowledge. Therefore, it is important to have equal level of knowledge of diabetes and insulin management among clinicians and access to prompt specialist advice on diabetes management.

"Patients have also expressed preference for care management within the community. So having Ian as a key member of our diabetes team is great news for us and people with diabetes," Dr Croft added.

Dr Gallen said, "Diabetes is a chronic condition often associated with shortened life. With better management, complications are largely avoidable. My first task is to establish a structured care plan so that efforts are streamlined and not duplicated."

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