A Medical Device Daily

Care for those with diabetes in the UK is showing "good signs of improvement," Health Minister Rosie Winterton reported last week.

Winterton published a report, "Improving Diabetes Services: The NSF Two Years On," covering the progress made in improving care for diabetes sufferers in England since the National Service Framework (NSF) for diabetes was launched.

In the Diabetes NSF, the UK Department of Health set out a 10-year strategy for identifying best practices and rolling them out nationwide. The goal was to set national standards to stop inequalities in diabetes care, and ways of achieving them.

Sue Roberts, national clinical director for diabetes, said, "Diabetes is a chronic and progressive disorder that impacts upon almost every aspect of life. In England, there are now 1.4 million people with diabetes and this figure continues to grow. The NHS spends an estimated 5 million per day on diabetes care, much of this due to complications preventable through good professional care supporting good self-management. That is why it is so essential that the good progress highlighted in this report is rolled out across the country."

Winterton's report highlights the progress that has been made since the diabetes delivery strategy was published, including a number of case studies from areas where services are working together to improve patient care, she said.

By way of example, she cited:

  • Nichols Town Surgery, part of the Southampton Primary Care Trust, which recognized cultural and language needs of a local population with 78% black and Asian patients to offer diabetes care tailored to those needs
  • Six practices in Sheffield that have set up specialist support for diabetes within general practice in order to place greater emphasis on collaboration between primary and secondary care
  • West Lincolnshire Primary Care Trust, which has introduced multi-disciplinary primary care clinics that aim to bridge the gap between general practitioner (GP) and specialist care.
  • Diabeticare, the district diabetes center in Hilling-don, where the whole local health economy, including GPs, specialists and pharmacists, is involved in diabetes care services. Patient participation has been central in developing guidelines and individual treatment plans.

Speaking at Diabeticare last week, Winterton said, "Each example of good diabetes care set out in this report [shows] how lives have been changed through better management of this illness. It is important [that] we offer diabetics the best care possible so they can live with diabetes, not suffer from it. Our goal is to make best practice the norm for diabetes care."

Noting that the first two years of the 10-year program "have focused on getting the systems and support right," Winterton added: "I hope that the next few years will bring about real and sustainable improvements in patient care."

She said the Department of Health and National Health Service (NHS) "are placing greater focus on patient involvement and self-management, which means we need a considerable change in the way services are delivered. Patients are joining clinicians and managers to re-design care services."

Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said, "Diabetes care in England is undergoing a major overhaul. This report shows that real progress is being made in facing up to the problems and tackling the root causes. The challenge for the NHS is to now ensure that everyone with the condition has equal access to the care and support that can offer them a full and healthy life."

Technical Forum set by Eucomed

Eucomed (Brussels, Belgium), the European medical technology industry association, has scheduled its 10th Technical Forum for April 28, with a focus on a variety of issues, including an update on the reorganization of the European Commission.

It also will feature a variety of presentations relating to human tissue engineering, as well as the latest developments in the field of electronic labeling, reprocessing of single-use devices, and clinical and post-market surveillance. and the latest developments relating to DEHP/plasticized PVC medical devices

Participants also will be informed about the status of the revision of the Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EC and will be given an overview of Directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment and Directive 2002/95/EC on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

The Technical Forum will be chaired by Jean-Yves Carentz, regulatory and quality affairs director for Stryker Europe, Middle East & Africa, and co-chaired by Dario Pirovano, director of regulatory affairs for Eucomed.

Chitoskin wound pads CE-marked

SanguiBioTech GmbH (Witten, Germany) has been awarded the CE mark for its Chitoskin wound pads, allowing sale of the product in the member countries of the European Union. The company also achieved ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 13485:2003 quality system certifications.

Chitoskin will be distributed in German-speaking countries by Karl Beese, a leading vendor/distributor of hospital supplies.

Wound pads are used to support delicate wound-healing processes. Sangui said the Chitoskin product is expected to show "significant advantages" over existing technologies, since the natural polymer, chitosan, of which it is composed, has what the company termed "outstanding properties playing an important role in wound healing."

According to market research by Frost & Sullivan, the European market for advanced wound pad technologies totals about EUR 550 million.

SanguiBioTech GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sangui BioTech International (Los Angeles).