Success Rates in a Diabetes Specialist Nurse-Led Education Programme: Re-setting the Glucostat

A. H. Heald, S. G. Anderson, A. Khan, J. Stocker, S. Davies, K. Bliss, M. Livingston, P. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Analysis of National Diabetes Audit data from 2011-2012 of newly diagnosed people with type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) found low initial success rates in much of the UK at 20% on initial training, while an unusually high success rate of 75% achieving target HbA1C<58 mmol/mol (< 7.5%) was found in Cheshire (England average=40.8%). We present a review of the approach taken by the Cheshire Diabetes team in the 12 months following diagnosis. Methods Between 2012 and 2013, 15 consecutive newly diagnosed people with type 1 DM were followed up for 18 months. All received support and advice by community Diabetes Specialist Nurses (DSNs) and Dieticians covering Central and Eastern Cheshire, UK. Results Mean±SD age at diagnosis was 23±3 years. The period of contact with the DSN service varied from 7-12 weeks. Baseline HbA1C of 99 mmol/mol [11.2%] (95% CI: 86-111 mmol/mol [10.0-12.3%]) declined by ~50% to 49 mmol/mol [6.6%] (41-57 mmol/mol [5.9-7.4%]; F=16.9, p<0.001) at 6 months and did not change between 6-12 months. Of those newly diagnosed with type 1 DM, 84.6% achieved a target HbA1C<58 mmol/mol (<7.5%) and 61.5% met a target<48 mmol/mol (<6.5%). There was no significant weight change during the study. Conclusions The key elements of this bio-psycho-social approach by the DSN team included providing psychological support, patient engagement, demonstrating positive regard, gaining trust, identifying health-seeking behaviour, providing key decision-making skills and developing a self-management plan. This resulted in improvements in overall glycaemic control well above the national average without untoward weight gain. Summary The UK National Diabetes Audit (2011-2012) in newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics in Cheshire, UK, showed a success rate at 6 months post-diagnosis of 75% achieving a target HbA1C<58 mmol/mol (<7.5%) compared with the national average of 40.8%. Initially thought to be erroneous, these excellent results were confirmed. The approach taken to achieve them is herein described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-300
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes
Issue number5
Early online date28 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • education
  • glycated haemoglobin A1c
  • HbA1c
  • treatment
  • type 1 diabetes


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