A new partnership has been forged to improve care and research into diabetes in Bradford, it was announced today.

Bradford Royal Infirmary and charity Diabetes UK have got together on a scheme to deliver the right services people need.

The Improving Local Services Together Project is being funded by the Department of Health and will run for one year, getting people in the district with the condition involved.

Patients, families and carers will be invited to drop-in sessions at the BRI clinics to find out more and have their say on how the scheme will be developed.

BRI consultant in diabetes and endocrinology, Dr Donald Whitelaw, said: “This new project is a vital part of listening to and responding to our patients and will draw a wide range of people together who are affected by the condition and give them the ongoing opportunity to feed back to our team of doctors, nurses, dietitians, podiatrists and psychologists.”

The project will initially focus on adults and young people with Type 1 diabetes, but anyone affected by the condition can give their views.

People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. It is not known exactly what causes it, but it is nothing to do with being overweight and it cannot be prevented. Daily insulin doses can treat it and a healthy diet and regular exercise helps.

Diabetes UK regional manager for the Northern and Yorkshire regions, Linda Wood, said diabetes is one of the biggest challenges facing the country and, as it increases, more pressure is being put on the NHS in Bradford.

“Through this project, we hope to meet this challenge by helping make sure people in the district are at the heart of the services they use.

“This is a great opportunity for people with diabetes to really help shape local services and we would encourage anyone affected by diabetes to get involved,” she said.

There are about 3.7 million people who have diabetes. The majority have Type 2, which develops when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to control the blood glucose level, or when the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin that is produced.

If not managed well, diabetes can lead to devastating complications such as blindness and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

Anyone who wants to get involved in the project and find out more about the drop-in sessions should contact Isla Dowds, Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ patient and public facilitator, on (01274) 383863 or e-mail isla.dowds@bthft.nhs.uk.

The Improving Local Services Together project team at Diabetes UK can also be contacted on (0207) 424 1035 or by e-mail at ILSTProjectTeam@diabetes.org.uk.

Information is also available on the Diabetes UK website at diabetes.org.uk