Structured Patient Education

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Why it is a priority:

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On average, people with diabetes spend only 3 hours a year with a healthcare professional, the rest of the time they must self-manage their condition.

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Provision of high-quality patient education helps people with type 1 diabetes to acquire skills for ‘self-management’ (NICE), including how to manage their insulin therapy. The first few months after diagnosis involve considerable adjustment, so although information should be given from diagnosis, it is thought that an intensive structured education programme is most beneficial 6–12 months after diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive long-term medical condition that is predominantly self-managed by the person living with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 structured education courses should be offered at the time of diagnosis.

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Diabetes costs the NHS £10 billion every year. However, 80 per cent of this is spent on complications, many of which can be prevented through good day-to-day diabetes management. Evidence has demonstrated that structured patient education improves health outcomes and reduces the onset of serious complications. Consequently, improving the uptake of structured education is a national priority in diabetes.

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Additional investment into structured patient education programmes is being made through the Treatment and Care Programme.

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Our Work:

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To better understand the provision and uptake of structured patient education for people with diabetes in the region, the Yorkshire and Humber Diabetes Clinical Network has undertaken a survey and data collection exercise with structured patient education providers since 2014/2015. The findings of these surveys are reported in an annual basis - see below.

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Findings show that the uptake of structured education in Yorkshire and the Humber is under-reported in nationally published data. The Clinical Network found attendance to be nearly five times higher than reported, yet still lower than desired, and is working with providers and NHS Digital to improve the recording of this data. More information on this can be found here.

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Section 3.79 of the NHS Long Term Plan states that:

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For those people living with a diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes the NHS will enhance its support offer. We will support people who are newly diagnosed to manage their own health by further expanding provision of structured education and digital self-management support tools, including expanding access to Healthy Living for People with Type 2 Diabetes an online self-management tool for those with type 2 diabetes. 

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The Clinical Network is working with West Yorkshire and Harrogate on the pilot for Healthy Living for People with Type 2 Diabetes. Testing will commence early in 2020.

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The Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Network continues to work with providers and commissioners to share good practice and improve the attendance at Structured Education and has formed a Structured Education Network across Yorkshire and the Humber. If you would like to join the network please let us know here.

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Links and Documents:

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Type 1 and Type 2 Structured Education Provision in Yorkshire and the Humber 2016-17 and 2017-18

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Type 1 and Type 2 Structured Education Provision in Yorkshire and the Humber 2015-16

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Type 2 Diabetes Structured Education Provision In Yorkshire 2014/15

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Croydon CCG Structured Patient Education Service Specification

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Diabetes education - the big missed opportunity

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Structured Education Toolkit

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Diabetes UK videos and resources for professionals re self-management education

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Diabetes UK videos and resources for patients re self-management education

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Diabetes UK Consultancy and Best Practice Modelling

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