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Diabetes Specialist Nurses provide care of similar quality to doctors, study finds

Diabetes Specialist Nurses (DSNs) give diabetes care of a similar quality to that provided by doctors, but are more cost effective, according to the results of a new study.

The two-year trial, by Maastricht University Medical Centre, compared hospital care provided by DSNs with the care given by doctors. Around 300 patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes took part.

Similar quality of care

Quality of life in terms of health was found to be similar for patients receiving care from either type of clinician. When a DSN acted as the main care giver, fewer patients were hospitalised, fewer side-effects from drugs were reported, and overall costs were slightly reduced. In addition, fewer of those treated by a DSN went on to develop diabetes-related complications.

The authors of the study concluded that DSNs were more than capable of taking the central role in multidisciplinary teams in providing care to diabetes patients.

Integral part of the multidisciplinary team

Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy, said, “Diabetes UK has long championed the role of the Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN), and this paper adds to the evidence that they are able to provide excellent and cost-effective care. Nurses are already responsible for about 80% of direct diabetes care and we need to ensure that these nursing posts – hundreds of which are currently being frozen – are protected for the benefit of people with diabetes.

“We believe that DSNs should be an integral part of the multidisciplinary team, working alongside physicians, dietitians, podiatrists etc. We believe the current trend of reducing their numbers is short-sighted and will have a negative impact on the long-term health of patients.” 

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