Ipswich: Don’t take my angel - Patients’ anger at decision to axe specialist diabetes nurse

IPSWICH: Diabetes patients at Ipswich Hospital are today the latest to be hit by cuts at the trust as it was revealed that a specialist nurse – their “guardian angel” – will be made redundant.

As part of a sweeping round of jobs axed at the trust in Heath Road, the Diabetes Centre was forced to make savings equating to one-and-a-half full-time posts, out of three.

It is a blow to sufferers of the lifelong condition, where the amount of glucose in a sufferer’s blood is too high because the body cannot properly use it.

Diabetes, which affects around 15,000 people in Suffolk, requires constant monitoring and can lead to complications affecting a patient’s heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves and feet.

When she was three years old, Jenna Rumbellow was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which develops when the body’s immune system destroys the cells that produce insulin which regulates glucose levels.

Now 21, she is very concerned that her “guardian angel”, specialist nurse Anne Scott, will be leaving the centre at the end of March.

She said Ms Scott goes beyond the call of duty, texting her regularly to check how she is feeling and how her medication is going.

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“She has made a huge difference to my life,” said Miss Rumbellow, of Russet Road, Ipswich, who offered her backing to the Star’s Save Our Angels campaign aimed at retaining specialist nurses at the trust.

“When she told me she would be leaving, I asked to go to the hospital she is moving to.

“She is so caring, I will be lost without her.

“I know the hospital has to make cuts, but they should never have let her go, she is brilliant. They have made a big mistake.”

Her grandmother Janet Paternoster, of Beechcroft Road described Ms Scott as being like Jenna’s godmother, helping her manage her condition.

“Last May we nearly lost Jenna. She was in intensive care, she was very poorly,” she said. “Anne has always been there. Her specialist knowledge is a wealth of expertise and many other diabetic patients and their families will sorely miss it.”

A hospital spokeswoman said: “More care will be provided closer to home for people with diabetes in east Suffolk over the coming year, as hospital specialists and family doctors work together to deliver an integrated service.

“The hospital still has a very important role for the management of diabetes and will continue to provide a service for very complex patients who require specialist inputs, pump services, children’s and also adolescent services.”

A hospital spokeswoman said each patient currently seen by Anne Scott will be carefully reviewed.

She said: “A programme of care absolutely appropriate to each individual’s needs will be put in place.”

n Are you affected by the cuts made at Ipswich Hospital? Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk