Teams at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and neighbouring Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OHFT) have worked together to create and man the helpline, which is now live.
Designed for patients who need urgent clinical advice, it is hoped that the helpline will give reassurance to patients who are concerned about their diabetic health during COVID-19, and also ultimately help prevent admission to hospital.
Katie Hards, a specialist diabetes nurse at OUH, said: “This is a really great development for people with diabetes in Oxfordshire.
“During this COVID-19 pandemic, we can completely understand how people’s anxieties around their health are particularly high. This is especially true when it comes to people who have long-term health conditions like diabetes.
“With that in mind, we set up this dedicated helpline with our colleagues in Oxford Health to give out urgent clinical advice to people with diabetes in Oxfordshire. Ultimately, we hope this would avoid an admission to hospital as we can address their query on the phone – which means they’ve saved a trip, we’re able to put their worries to bed, and we can continue to focus our care on people who need it most.”
Jane Maskell, co-clinical lead for community diabetes at OHFT said:
“This has been a good opportunity to work even more closely with our diabetes colleagues in OUH. Alongside the patient helpline, we have extended our support for healthcare professionals with 7 days a week email and phone line support, including bank holidays. This is provided by experienced community diabetes specialist nurses with clinical input from OUH colleagues as needed. Working together gives greater access to diabetes expertise for both staff and patients regardless of organisation, so supporting the wider diabetes community”
The patient helpline number is 01865 857357, and is available seven days a week from 8am until 4pm. Patients can also email email@example.com
If patients have a query out of hours, they can call 0300 3047777.