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Diabetes’ effect on mental health explored

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NEW research from Diabetes UK has found that seven out of ten people feel overwhelmed by the demands of living with diabetes, significantly affecting their mental and physical health.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults with Type 1, Type 2 and other types of diabetes from across the UK shows that the majority (three quarters) of those who feel overwhelmed say that this affects how well they can manage the condition.

In order to explore the links between mental health and diabetes, the charity collected extensive insights from people affected by the condition and healthcare professionals from across the UK.

The findings, published in the report “Too often missing: Making emotional and psychological support routine in diabetes care”, show that diabetes is much more than a physical condition.

Management of physical symptoms 24/7 – for example checking blood glucose levels, or managing diet – alongside the continual need to make decisions and take actions in order to reduce the likelihood of short and long-term complications, can affect every aspect of day-to-day life.

The research revealed that the relentless nature of diabetes can impact people’s emotional, mental and psychological wellbeing and health, from day-to-day frustration and low mood, to specific psychological and mental health difficulties such as clinical depression and anxiety.

Three-quarters of those needing specialist mental health support to help manage the condition, such as from a counsellor or psychologist, could not access it. Seven out of ten people with diabetes also reported that they are not helped to talk about their emotional wellbeing by their diabetes teams.

Healthcare professionals surveyed also revealed that there was more to be done in this area. Specifically, 40 per cent of GPs say they are not likely to ask about emotional wellbeing and mental health in routine diabetes appointments, while only 30 per cent feel there is enough emotional and psychological support for people living with diabetes when needed.

The report marks the launch of a Diabetes UK campaign to make the emotional and psychological demands of living with diabetes recognised and provide the right support to everyone who needs it.

Diabetes UK Cymru is marking the launch with an event on Wednesday 22 May at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay from 12 pm to 2 pm.

The charity is urgently calling on each of the four nations’ health services to create national standards for diabetes emotional and mental healthservices. These should ensure that everyone is asked how they are feeling as part of every diabetes appointment and that a mental healthprofessional with knowledge of diabetes is part of every diabetes care team.

Dai Williams, National Director, Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “The day-to-day demands of managing diabetes can be a constant struggle, affecting people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. In turn, people tell us that struggling emotionally can make it even more difficult to keep on top of self-management. And when diabetes cannot be well managed, the risk of dangerous complications, such as amputations, kidney failure and stroke increases.

“Diabetes services that include emotional and psychological support can help people improve both their physical and mental health, reduce pressure on services, and save money.

“Mental health and physical health go hand in hand, but services for people with diabetes don’t always reflect this. We need to bridge the divide between physical and mental health services to ensure those with emotional and psychological difficulties related to their condition do not have their needs overlooked. It is critical that all diabetes care sees and supports the whole person, and explores what matters most to them.”

Diabetes UK is launching a petition to call for national standards for diabetes mental health support and services.

To find out more about the campaign and sign the petition go to www.diabetes.org.uk/missing

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Health

Third day for hospital operation cancellations for ‘patient safety’

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HYWEL DDA University Health Board has confirmed that, in the interest of patient safety, planned inpatient operations scheduled for today (Wednesday 8 January 2020) have been postponed at Bronglais, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals. Emergency surgery, day case procedures and outpatient appointments are continuing as normal.
These actions are in line with our escalation procedures to help manage patient flow and maintain patient safety during periods of peak pressure.
We have contacted patients affected directly so please attend as planned if you do not hear from us. Otherwise, please do not contact our appointments or outpatient teams unless absolutely necessary as they are very busy at this time.
Whilst the situation remains challenging, we are currently assessing our operating plans for the days ahead and, as per normal planning arrangements, these will be reviewed on a daily basis.
We will issue an updated statement when a large proportion of planned operations resume.
We apologise for an inconvenience this may cause patients who have had their operations postponed or who have had to wait longer than normal for their procedure.

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Operations at all west Wales hospitals, including Withybush cancelled again today

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THE HEALTH BOARD has confirmed that, in the interest of patient safety, routine planned operations remain cancelled today (Tuesday 7 January 2020) at Bronglais, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals.

Operations were also cancelled yesterday for the same reason.

The exception to this is emergency surgery and urgent cases wherever possible, as well as most day surgery, with the exception of Bronglais Hospital. All outpatient appointments are continuing as normal.

A spokesman said: “We are contacting patients affected directly so please attend as planned if you do not hear from us. Otherwise, please do not contact our appointments or outpatient teams unless absolutely necessary as they are very busy at this time.

“This situation remains challenging with the Health Board operating in line with our escalation procedures to help manage patient flow and maintain patient safety. This includes commissioning additional areas to accommodate patients who require overnight care and support from senior clinicians, managers and other staff not initially rostered to work over the weekend to support the review and care of patients.

“In collaboration with our Local Authority partners, we continue to implement our broader winter plan which is designed to help reduce demand for hospital admission and prioritise patients for care within their home environment over the wider winter period. Over the next few weeks, a number of staff taking on new and different roles will be coming into post to support patients to receive the most appropriate care for their needs in the most appropriate setting. These are resourced through the winter planning monies supported by Welsh Government, in addition to the money we invested ourselves as a Health Board.”

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Withybush General Hospital cancels all operations citing patient safety

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WITHYBUSH HOSPITAL has taken the unusual step of cancelling all inpatient operations in the interest of patient safety.
Hywel Dda University Health Board said they have decided to cancel inpatient operation at Bronglais, Prince Philip, Glangwili and Withybush today (Jan 6).
The health board has asked people do not attend an emergency department or GP practice if you have symptoms of infectious illness such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever or symptoms of flu. Flu and norovirus are circulating and for the majority of people, these can be treated safely at home.
However, the vulnerable – very young, frail elderly, living with long term or chronic conditions – or those with symptoms worsening should seek medical advice.
In a statement issued by the Health Board to The Pembrokeshire Herald, a spokesperson said: “It has been an extraordinary weekend for our health service, with critical pressures being felt across all of our hospital A&E departments, GPs and our community services.
“In the interest of patient safety, Hywel Dda University Health Board has made the decision to cancel inpatient operations at Bronglais, Glangwili, Prince Philip and Withybush hospitals today.
“We are contacting patients affected directly so please attend as planned if you do not hear from us. Otherwise, please do not contact our appointments or outpatient teams unless absolutely necessary as they are very busy at this time.
“If you are unwell, please be aware that you may experience long waits for a GP appointment and at our A&E or MIU units at this time, for which we wholeheartedly apologise. If there are other services you can use, such as community pharmacies, please do so.”
Dr Philip Kloer, Medical Director at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “First I’d like to thank all my NHS colleagues across our hospitals, primary care and in the community for their commitment to our patients at this highly pressurised time.
“This weekend saw our hospitals at a level of escalation not seen before and it is in the interest of patient safety that we have postponed planned operations today. I understand this may be frustrating for those who have waited for their operation and I apologise for this.
“In response to the pressures being experienced today, we are redeploying staff to areas where additional support is needed, including contacting staff currently on leave. We are also working with our colleagues in the local authority and the families of those well enough to be discharged to ensure our medically well can go home or to an appropriate care setting as soon as possible.”

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