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Eight ways King’s Health Partners is leading the way in diabetes care

Diabetes is one of the most pressing health issues of our times – a condition with a serious impact on the day-to-day lives of 3.7 million people in the UK.  

world diabetes day infographic

People with diabetes have to manage the risk of being unable to regulate their blood sugar so it can become dangerously high (hyperglycaemia) or dangerously low (hypoglycaemia).  

Without the right treatment and care diabetes can lead to a host of complications impacting both physical and mental health.  

As a partnership between King's College London, and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts, King’s Health Partners has a distinctive offer covering everything from diabetes-related research and prevention activities to treatment and whole-person care.  

Here are just some of the ways we’re working together to make a difference...  

 1. Delivering treatment

The NHS spends £14 billion each year treating people with diabetes across the UK, including £1 billion on prescriptions.  

That works out at an astonishing £1.5 million every hour...  

In south London alone there are an estimated 230,000 people living with diabetes. Our location in one of the most diverse cities in the world means each diabetes patient and service user who comes to us has their own unique background and circumstances.  

2. Going nationwide

Beyond London we have grown to become a leading referral centre for type 1 diabetes and for treating the complications of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  

And we’re sharing our expertise across the country – like contributing to the first-ever national guidance on how to improve care for people with type 1 diabetes and disordered eating (sometimes referred to as “Diabulimia”).

3. Innovation 

Technology develops at breakneck speed and King's Health Partners is keeping pace with a commitment to innovation in care and treatment.  

One way we are doing this is using new technology to store and present data, giving us a clearer picture of the scale of the needs of local people with diabetes across Lambeth and Southwark.  

And we’re world leaders in exploring new ways to reverse type 2 diabetes – with clinicians at King’s College Hospital pioneering new surgical procedures. 

4. Prevention

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition and is not currently preventable, but researchers at King’s College London are leading the way in the search for a type 1 diabetes vaccine.  

For type 2 diabetes there are a range of risk factors, one of which is body weight. Prevention is better than cure, so we are looking ahead to how we can help people lead healthier lives.

With an estimated one in three of the UK adult population at risk of pre-diabetes, we're testing how a smartwatch and app can help prevent obesity. The app contains motivational messaging developed by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neurosciences at King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.  

5. Research 

Our diabetes research has worldwide recognition for its high standard.  

26% of the research papers related to diabetes, obesity and endocrinology we submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) were rated ‘world leading’, and 74% were ‘internationally excellent’. 

Earlier this summer, King's College London received an additional €26.8 million to fund further world-class diabetes research

6. Joining up mind and body

Nearly a third of people with long-term physical health conditions like diabetes also have a mental health problem.  

Despite this, most mental health services lack diabetes support and vice versa.  

King’s Health Partners is at the forefront of treating mind and body as one. Take the Integrating Mental & Physical healthcare: Research, Training & Services (IMPARTS) service running in diabetes clinics. Patients are asked how they’re coping emotionally, integrating mental and physical care into their treatments.

Since January 2016, more than 1,250 patients in Guy’s and St Thomas’ alone have been supported this way. 

paul diabetes patient quote

7. Delivering value

How can we make the most of budgets at a time when more and more is demanded of our health service? King’s Health Partners is pioneering a value based healthcare approach and sharing all our learnings to promote best practice.  

Our Three Dimensions for Diabetes (3DFD) was a year-long pilot project that saw clinical psychologists, third-sector support workers, and a consultant liaison psychiatrist all integrated into diabetes teams across primary, community, and secondary care. The results were a staggering £225,000 savings in one year alone and a reduction in A&E attendances of 45% among the patient group.  

8. Education

King’s Health Partners Learning Hub has online learning to help staff to work with patients to prevent type 2 diabetes and live well with the condition. If you work anywhere across the partnership register and take part today. 

Want to know more? 

We are bringing together clinical, research and educational expertise in diabetes from across our partnership to develop a world-class Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Endocrinology

King’s Health Partners Learning Hub offers free online learning to help staff who work with patients to prevent and manage diabetes.