Relaxing time thanks to waiting room

CHILDREN with diabetes are today able to relax in a brand new waiting room and treatment area at Ipswich Hospital.

CHILDREN with diabetes are today able to relax in a brand new waiting room and treatment area at Ipswich Hospital.

After more than seven years of planning and fundraising, the diabetes centre at the hospital has opened a new extension, with a dedicated area for young patients.

Dr Gerry Rayman, director of diabetes and endocrine services, said: “Before there was this dedicated area we used to turn the whole centre over to children on a Thursday, but children don't just get diabetes on a Thursday morning.

“We wanted a combined waiting area and play area, and space for families to learn more about their children's conditions.”

The centre currently has more than 160 children on its books and with diabetes on the increase in children the need for the new centre has never been greater.

Claire Wadham, paediatric nurse specialist, said: “We are seeing an increase in children with diabetes but it is mostly type one diabetes - which is not the kind associated with obesity. We don't know why this is.”

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Dr Rayman said: “We are treating a handful of children with type two diabetes at the moment, which is exceptional because five or six years ago we would not have seen any cases.

“If you look at what's happening in America at the moment we know it's going to get worse.”

The new extension will eventually contain a range of play equipment to make it feel more like a play area than a waiting room and give it a non-clinical feel.

It already contains a computer with programmes and games on to help children learn about their condition and is due to be used for education sessions for families.

Dr Rayman said: “When people think of medicine and surgery they think you come in, get something done, or get some tablets and go home, but diabetes is not like that. The best person to look after the patient is the patient themselves.

“Education and understanding the condition is incredibly important.”

Mrs Wadham said: “It gives us a dedicated area that we can use at any time. Diagnosis is a stressful time and we want to make it as easy as we possibly can.

“If children are more relaxed then they will be more receptive.”

There will be an official launch of the new extension in September for fundraisers and patients.

Have you been treated at the diabetes centre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

The diabetes centre at Ipswich Hospital opened in 1986.

Patients go there for treatment but it also contains an education centre where people can learn about how to cope with the condition in their day to day lives.

High blood pressure, heart disease and eye problems are all common effects of diabetes but it is hoped that early education and prevention can help to ward these off.

Staff at the centre take about 20 children to special diabetes camps every summer.

All of the money for the new centre has come from fundraising.