Hospitals have been urged to employ specialist diabetic nurses in emergency care after a trial showed the move could save the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) millions of pounds.
The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust found that fewer patients were admitted if they received attention from a specialist nurse, while those who were taken in spent less time in hospital.
Diabetic specialist nurses (DSNs) were on hand at the emergency medical unit at the trust from Monday to Friday over a 12-month period.
The DSNs actively identified people who had diabetes, helped to organise their care and encouraged patients to look after themselves.
During the trial they identified and reviewed 111 people with diabetes, of which 47 were discharged from the hospital within 24 hours.
According to the study, which was presented at the Diabetes UK annual professional conference in Glasgow, a person with diabetes typically stays in hospital for 11 days.
With an average daily bed stay at the trust costing £215 in 2007, 47 fewer admissions would save the hospital £111,155 a year, which equates to up to £100m a year when it is translated across the whole of the NHS.
Helen Atkins, a DSN at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “Our research shows how proactive DSN intervention can facilitate more appropriate care and help save money.”
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