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Developing a diabetes education programme to meet local needs in Tower Hamlets

9 June 2015

Tower Hamlets has an ethnically diverse, transient population with an increasing number of people with diabetes in need of self management education. NHS Tower Hamlets CCG have commissioned education and support packages from the local diabetes centre and community based charities. Several innovative techniques have been used in recent years to improve access and make health messages consistent. A new, simplified menu of education options has been introduced.

The model of care

The current model of care in Tower Hamlets reflects the three levels of education developed in Scotland, a framework endorsed in the Diabetes UK report,

: Structured education with a clear curriculum and teaching philosophy that is delivered to a group of people, with quality assured teaching standards.

: Ongoing learning that may be quite informal, perhaps through a peer group.

: Information and one to one advice when diabetes is diagnosed.

Increasing the uptake of diabetes education

The diabetes centre have raised awareness of the course in primary care by:

  • Using the local GP network structure to present the different education options duting network meetings
  • Using established communication pathways with primary care to promote the courses
  • Inviting primary care staff to attend taster education sessions

Attendance at structured education courses has been addressed by:

  • Advertising
  • Making it easy to book onto a course
  • Holding sesisons at flexible times in convenient locations
  • Providing ongoing contact throughout the course

Lessons learned

  • Education programmes must be flexible to adapt to the needs of the local population, but health messages must remain consistent. Short Key Messages are short health messages written by the diabetes centre staff and delivered by a DSN or diabetes educator as part of the level two education options.
  • Referrers (usually in primary care) must have a clear understanding of the different self management choices available and a simple referral process to follow.
  • Structured education courses can improve health outcomes in a diverse and transient population. Simple interventions may be necessary to improve course uptake.

Read the complete case study (PDF, 162KB).

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