Diabetes testing kit 'revolutionising the service' at Ipswich Hospital

Prof Gerry Rayman. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

Prof Gerry Rayman. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL - Credit: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

Patients at Ipswich Hospital's diabetes centre were supported from home throughout the pandemic with the development of an innovative testing kit.

Staff at the centre developed a postal haemoglobin (HbA1c) testing kit at the beginning of the first lockdown to ensure that the glycaemic control of patients could still be monitored, even without coming to the centre. 

Prof Gerry Rayman, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology, led the development of the home testing kits, together with Jenna Cross, laboratory technician.  

He said: "Our team is incredibly proud of this initiative, which is revolutionising the service we provide to our patients while also strengthening East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust's position as a national leader in diabetes care. 

"We usually test for HbA1c when our patients come into clinic, but this simply wasn't possible during the height of the pandemic when we moved to virtual clinics and while many people with diabetes were shielding because of their condition.

"We worked quickly to source specialist blood tubes and develop a remote kit which would not only be reliable, accurate and easy to use, but would also remain stable when sent through the post. 

"This has been a really effective way of delivering care during Covid-19 and has been well-received by our patients."

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The research that shaped the initiative is being published in the British Medical Journal to help other NHS trusts to introduce similar schemes.