Sweet opportunity

Sweet opportunity

Membership of Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) is helping the diabetes department at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust access international opportunities and export its unique model of diabetes care, as Dr Partha Kar, Consultant at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, explains

The rise of diabetes, not only in the UK but across the world, is a public health crisis. Fuelled by changes in nutrition, rapid urbanisation and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, obesity is now a large contributor to the development of the disease. Research and expertise in the treatment and effective management of the condition will only prove more useful as its global prevalence increases, particularly in developing areas where diabetes care may be insufficient.

Such global health problems require expert solutions, adaptable to local pressures and needs. Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is leading the charge with their diabetes care offering, working with the Wessex AHSN to access and build upon international opportunities, and innovating fresh approaches to a health epidemic that features centrally in many of the world’s healthcare organisations.

“If current trends continue, the UK will see one in ten of the population having some type of diabetes,” says Dr Kar. “This is a huge number. If you look at areas such as the Middle East, they’re already way above that figure. Estimates suggest almost one third of the population in this region have type two diabetes. Whatever country you look at, diabetes rates are going up.”

Super Six model of care

Joining the Diabetes and Endocrinology department in 2008 before becoming the Clinical Director of Diabetes at the Trust in 2009, Dr Kar and his team have developed a unique model of diabetes care, based on education and support within the primary care setting from a range of clinical avenues. “This model has been part of the history of the diabetes centre in itself,” he says. “We’ve evolved from a specialist diabetes centre to taking responsibility for the whole community.”

“We realised that trained consultants see patients inside the hospital in specific clinical areas,” Dr Kar explains. “However, the majority of care actually takes place outside the hospital setting.”

The approach is simple, labelled as the Super Six Model. It clearly defines with local GPs, commissioners and specialists which services must be administered within the confines of an acute Trust, owing to the higher expertise involved or the need for a multidisciplinary approach to more complicated conditions.

“Rather than assuming somebody else would manage this care provision outside the hospital, we instead saw ourselves as educators and a critical support tool,” says Dr Kar. “That’s very different from what many other leading centres offer.”

Embracing the movement of digital technology into the healthcare space, the department has also adopted the latest technologies and download devices – all designed to move care closer to the patient and away from the traditional model of in-hospital care. These developments are critical in freeing up clinicians to focus their attention on delivering care within the hospital setting.

International opportunities and Wessex AHSN

As a network connecting academics, industry and health care providers, Wessex AHSN helps pinpoint areas of best practice, and offers the opportunity for collaboration with other leading regional healthcare organisations as they respond to potentially lucrative opportunities overseas.

For example, as part of a consortium involved in the construction of a hospital, the diabetes team at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust can help establish a full diabetes facility, from prevention to pharmacy services.

“When building a hospital from scratch, most require a diabetes department,” Dr Kar explains. “Another specialist partner would offer respiratory services or care for long-term conditions. It’s great to be part of a collaborative organisation instead of trying to do everything on your own. This is where Wessex AHSN’s strength lies.”

The UK healthcare offering remains extremely well respected, continuing to represent some of the best innovators and entrepreneurs in the health sector. “Although some gaps certainly exist, people do look at the way the UK works. If there is something we can adapt, we will definitely do so to build on those results.”

Testament to its success, the Trust’s local model of primary care has now been exported to other areas of the country, such as Leicester, Gateshead and Croydon. “This expansion shows that our model is adaptable to other countries too,” Dr Kar concludes. “In countries such as India or those in the Middle East, if you can get the organisation or support systems right and encourage a focus on the specialist side of their work, you can definitely improve care.”

Curated from Article – Collaborate

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Part of Wessex AHSN
Of the 15 AHSNs (Academic Health Science Networks) established in 2013 across the UK, Wessex AHSN brings together health services, academia and industry to promote and support innovation to improve patient outcomes and generate economic benefits. A member of Wessex AHSN, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust provides a range of acute services from Queen Alexandra Hospital. There are 6,300 full time equivalent staff, including Ministry of Defence employees who are fully integrated into the activities of the hospital.

Website: www.porthosp.nhs.uk
Website: www.wessexahsn.org.uk