Wrexham Maelor Hospital wins at prestigious national diabetes awards

Wrexham Maelor Hospital’s Young Adult Diabetes team has been recognised for the outstanding care they provide their patients at a recent national award ceremony. 

The initiative ‘Wrexham Young Adult Diabetes Service – Getting Our Heads around Diabetes’ triumphed in the ‘Mind and Body Healthy Together – Emotional Welling Programmes for People with Diabetes Children, Young People and Emerging Adults’ category at the 2019 Quality in Care Diabetes Awards.

This category recognises initiatives that deliver emotional wellbeing support for people with diabetes of all ages and/or their families and carers.

People living with diabetes are more likely to experience psychological distress than those without the condition. To provide patients with further support the team worked with then Diabetes Clinical Lead Julie Lewis and Clinical Psychologists Dr Jessica Eade, Dr Beth Parry-Jones and Dr Rose Stewart to develop and test an innovative model of Clinical Psychology provision for the service starting with an 18-month pilot project.

Dr Steve Stanaway, Consultant Diabetologist, said: “In contrast to most adult diabetes psychology services across the UK, in planning the level of the Clinical Psychologist’s involvement with the service we decided to adopt a fully integrated approach.

“This involved placing the psychologist as a core member of the young adult diabetes team, sitting in clinic with the Consultant and the Diabetes Specialist Nurse and contributing to all diabetes clinic appointments. We were also able to start a whole-service screening programme to allow early identification and treatment of psychological issues.

“The aim was to completely de-stigmatise any discussion about psychological issues to reinforce the perception that the team weighted mental and physical health equally.”

The project had initially been planned to last 12 months, however due its success it was extended for a further six months to allow continued intervention by the psychologist and data collection.

Feedback questionnaires showed that all respondents felt that seeing the psychologist had benefitted them a great deal and that they would definitely consider accessing the service again if they faced similar difficulties in the future. There was also a large reduction in the number of emergency care admissions.

As a result of the project’s success the Wrexham Young Adult service now has Clinical Psychologist Dr Rose Stewart in a permanent specialist post within the team, and the service has been featured as a ‘gold standard’ in multiple national documents.

The service was praised during the awards night with their programme being described as ‘outstanding’ by the judges.

They said: “An outstanding, innovative programme aimed at helping one of the patient groups most in need of psychological support services.

“Excellent tracking of important clinical indicators, which will surely demonstrate a meaningful impact for the long term. Impressive user feedback and good evidence of efforts to spread uptake to other localities.”