Healthwatch Kingston Pulse check report - Services for people with diabetes

Healthwatch Kingston, working with Diabetes UK, encouraged Kingston residents with diabetes to share their views to help services work better for the people who use them. This report shares back what we learned.
Healthwatch Kingston Pulse check report - Services for people with diabetes
The annual diabetic check should be more than a box-ticking exercise for the GP practice. I felt this was so in my case – no useful advice/information provided to me.
— Kingston focus group participant.

Read the report:

The findings from this Healthwatch Kingston Pulse check report are drawn jointly from a focus group discussion, held in association with the Kingston branch of Diabetes UK, as well as returns to an online survey which was featured on the Healthwatch Kingston website for the months of October and November 2021. In total 40 respondents (23 survey respondents/17 focus group attendees) between the ages of 25 to over 80 expressed their views, the majority of whom were approximately pensionable age. We also provide examples of what people shared with us. Healthwatch Kingston would like to note that whereas some participants did praise elements of their diabetes care, others were not as content.

Despite budget cuts and other challenges, I can only praise the whole (Diabetes Day Unit) team - from the person who answers the phone, right through to the specialist nurses and consultants. I feel safe with them.
— Kingston survey respondent.

Key messages include:

  • Some participants believed there to be inconsistences between GP surgeries in the way diabetic conditions were being treated and supported.
  • Covid-19 had impacted on diabetes treatment, with a reduction in annual eye tests changing to every two years.
  • Annual diabetes checks at GP surgeries were perceived as being a “tick box” exercise for the benefit of the practice as opposed to being of assistance to the patient.
  • Some participants felt that they knew more about their condition than their GP.
  • People newly diagnosed with diabetes had not been referred to available NHS services.
  • There was uncertainty about being on the right medication or the correct dosage.
  • Participants identified a need for better communication about diabetes, particularly to alleviate anxieties about food.
  • 40 per cent of respondents to the survey said they would make use of diabetes-specific supervised exercise classes.
I used to attend some well-run exercise classes specific to the needs of those of us with diabetes. These were first at the Kingfisher Centre and then moved to Kingsmeadow. These stopped for understandable reasons when Covid came along, but I hope we can hear soon that these will be restarted. I have really missed this and feel that my general health has declined over the last two years.
— Kingston survey respondent.

Local diabetes service offer

To find out about support available for people living with and affected by diabetes in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, and also support for professionals go to:

Healthwatch Kingston All About: Diabetes services.

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