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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Northern area

Diabetes population 

The Northern Local Commissioning Group operates in the same area as the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.  It includes Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Cookstown, Larne, Magherafelt, Moyle and Newtownabbey.  The Northern LCG area showed a larger increase (6%) over the last year than the Northern Ireland average (5.38%).

Treatment in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust

Generally people with Type 2 diabetes will be looked after by their GP practice team or be referred to a hospital diabetes clinic, especially if their needs are complex, depending on local facilities.  People with Type 1 diabetes will usually always be referred to the local hospital diabetes specialist team. 

Hospitals in this area include the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, Mid-Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt, Antrim Area Hospital and Whiteabbey Hospital.  

There are a range of clinics for different patients - information on the paediatric diabetes services can be obtained through the link provided. 

Psychology Services

Each Trust in Northern Ireland has a clinical psychologist with a specialist interest in diabetes.  If someone is experiencing significant psychological distress which is affecting their ability to look after their diabetes a referral can be arranged via the local hospital diabetes team or via the community Diabetes Specialist Nurse. GPs also have access to local mental health services and sometimes to practise based counsellors who can help people to talk through and make sense of their feelings.

Annual eye screening

Everyone with diabetes over the age of 12 should have their eyes screened, for diabetic retinopathy, on an annual basis.  In Northern Ireland the screening is organised centrally by the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme. 

The Programme will obtain your details from your GP and send you a letter asking you to come for screening in your local area.  It is - even if you also attend your local optician.

If you need to make changes to your appointment you need to contact your GP surgery.

Structured diabetes education

Structured diabetes education has been found to be extremely effective in terms of de-mystifying how diabetes works and offering practical support on how to manage all aspects of diabetes including diet and lifestyle as well as blood glucose levels.  There are a range of different courses available for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes that are designed to meet different needs.

Unfortunately there is currently no structured diabetes education provided in the Northern Trust area.  Diabetes UK Northern Ireland believes everyone should have structured education available to them and continues to work to address this with the relevant Trust representatives - if you would like to help with this please contact the office on 028 9066 6646.

If you would like to undertake structured education there is an online course available and the link is provided to the right. 

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