THE OZONE: Challenges need to mean possibilities in 2017

THE OZONE. Views from the frontline of health

By Dr Partha Kar, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, and the associate national clinical director for diabetes for NHS England. He pioneered the Super Six Model, which won the Care Integration Awards and the Quality in Care in Diabetes Award in 2012. Last year, he published Type 1: Origins a comic book for young people living with diabetes.


Challenges need to mean possibilities in 2017




When one puts together the words “NHS” and “challenge”, invariably the big issue that crops up is finances. There is no denying it continues to be a huge issue: we’re faced with a rising demand and an ageing population, amidst an ever-increasing drive for efficiency within finite financial constraints.

Beyond that, the major challenge is the crisis in social care provision, which, in turn is putting pressure on the NHS. All in all, it’s a pretty challenging cocktail.

Outside the issues of funding, there are questions of where care is served best, in the community or within hospitals, and there are many angles to that particular debate.

Integrated working

Challenges sit with the ability or intention of healthcare professionals to work together, outside of traditional silos and with an eye on the bigger picture.

When one looks into diabetes specifically, many of the overarching problems within the NHS carry though, as well as some specific to the area. They include access to education, provision of specialist care, confusion about dietary interventions and something even simpler and more fundamental: the failure to make differentiations between types of diabetes while commissioning services.

Other areas of challenge include safety in hospitals for people with diabetes, shifting the bulk of healthcare spend in from complications to earlier on in the disease process and the need to improve overall care. The National Diabetes Audit makes for sobering reading.

Investing in prevention

NHS England has invested in the National Diabetes Prevention Programme, designed to help to drop rates of Type 2 diabetes via tailored programmes, and funding has become available to increase provision of structured education. How successful it will be, time will tell, but there appears to be an opportunity to influence and change care

Other areas of challenge are uptake of technology and casting a digital angle on the diabetes sphere: an area that is a challenge, yet awash with exciting possibilities.

In summary, there are challenges abound in the present landscape, whether it be the wider NHS or diabetes in particular. They also tinkle with possibilities, especially in a climate where diabetes has got the opportunity of extra funds to help improve services.

One can only look forward with hope and the billion-dollar question, however will be whether we as a community, are ready to grasp it.

• Partha is a member of The Ozone, a hand-picked group of health experts brought together by Oyster Healthcare Communications to discuss ideas and share best practice across therapy areas. Follow him on Twitter @parthaskar

Read more from Partha and his fellow panellists in Issue 1 of The Ozone e-magazine.

Published on: February 10, 2017