Northern Ireland Health Minister Simon Hamilton has today announced an investment of £1.7million to support diabetes services in Northern Ireland.
The investment package includes funding of £1million which is part of the recently announced £30million health and social care Transformation Fund, set up to support projects and initiatives which are focused on innovation, prevention and collaboration.
The Minister said:
‘When I launched my Department’s £30million Transformation Fund last week, I made very clear my belief that if we are to meet the challenges of an ageing population, a growth in long term conditions and unhealthy lifestyles, we must increase the pace at which we are transforming our health service.
‘This includes embracing the opportunities created by new technologies and treatments and working across interfaces so that together we focus on how we can support all our citizens to have better health outcomes now and into the future. The investment I am making in diabetes services today will be a key element of this.
‘This £1.7million investment package in will actively support a more innovative approach to how diabetes services are designed and delivered in the future.’
The investment will focus on a number of high priority areas that will transform the way in which diabetes services are delivered through encouraging innovation and collaboration.
– Implementing a diabetes foot care pathway to help reduce the risk of lower limb complications and potential amputations;
– Enhancing access to Structured Diabetes Education for people who are newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes;
– Improving access to insulin pumps; and improving services for the increasing number of women who develop gestational diabetes, supporting both them and their babies.
The funding will also support the establishment of a Diabetes Network that will underpin a more collaborative approach to improving the health and well-being of people living with diabetes and, importantly, those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
During the visit the Minister also launched the consultation on the draft Diabetes Strategic Framework for Northern Ireland.
The Minister added:
‘Diabetes is one of the biggest challenges facing our health and social care system today and it demands a bold and imaginative response. I am pleased to launch for consultation this Diabetes Strategic Framework, which I believe will help us make that response, and in doing so transform not only the way in which we provide diabetes services, but more importantly the lives of those living with the condition.
In developing the Diabetes Strategic Framework, the Department has worked closely with a range of key partners including Diabetes UK. Diabetes UK Director for Northern Ireland, David Chaney, welcomed the launch of the Framework. He said:
‘This is an important development in addressing the challenges faced by our population and people in Northern Ireland living with diabetes. Diabetes UK are encouraged by many of the positive recommendations which seek to transform and improve diabetes services and care. I would encourage the diabetes community to respond to this new initiative and have their voices heard during the consultation period.’
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride who led the development of the draft Strategic Framework also welcomed the launch of the consultation and the investment in diabetes services. He said: ‘I am delighted at the launch of the consultation of the draft Diabetes Strategic Framework and I welcome the emphasis it puts on both the provision of high quality services as well as renewed efforts on preventing cases of Type 2 diabetes.’