National Diabetes Week June 11 17 - Suffolk Diabetes Website Success
11 June 2005
A website set up by a West Suffolk Hospital consultant to help his patients has become internationally renowned with 84,000 visits to the site in the last six months.
The website - www.diabetesuffolk.com - was set up by Consultant Diabetologist Dr Nishan Wijenaike in 2002 with expert help from the Trust’s webmaster Roy Hunter. He wanted to create a website for his patients and others living in Suffolk which contained easily accessible, free, information on diabetes.
The website includes easy to understand information on the disease based on a frequently asked questions format. An overview of drugs and new products available, visual step by step instructions on how to use a syringe and blood glucose meters and a feedback page where people can send comments on the site or any questions.
People from all over the world have emailed Dr Wijenaike with comments praising the website and asking questions on diabetes from as far afield as the USA, Far East, South America, and India. He has given presentations on the website at the Diabetes UK conference and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes conference and has been approached by fellow consultants, GPs and nurses wanting advice on how to set up similar sites in their area.
Since it was set up, there have been over 200,000 visits to the website. Dr Wijenaike believes that the number of visits by the end of this year could be 150,000 or more.
Dr Wijenaike, who has been a Consultant Diabetologist at West Suffolk Hospital for five years and has specialised in diabetes for the past ten years, said: "The site has been more successful than I could ever have hoped for.
"I set it up to help patients in Suffolk. In my experience those people who take the trouble to understand their condition have better control over their diabetes and develop fewer complications. It¹s about giving patients information to empower them to manage their illness and we can see from the number of visits to the Suffolk Diabetes website that more and more people want to take control.
"I never expected that people from across the UK, let alone the world would enjoy the site.
"In the future we would like to create a separate arm of the website dedicated to teenagers and children with diabetes. There is no site out there for children. But more and more youngsters are using the Internet so it seems a great way to reach them."
This week is National Diabetes Week that aims to raise awareness of the seriousness of the condition.
West Suffolk Hospital opened its new diabetes centre in March. It joins together all the services that diabetic patients use in the hospital, to provide a ’one-stop-shop’. It houses all the hospital diabetes clinics including those for new patients, pregnant diabetics, adolescents with diabetes and, diabetics with foot problems.
Dr Wijenaike said: "Diabetes is an increasing problem with the number of people with type 2 diabetes in the UK expected to hit three million by the year 2010.
"If you have diabetes then it is not the end of the world. Some people receive their diagnosis for the first time and give up on trying to control it. But much can be done these days by controlling your weight, testing your blood sugar regularly and taking medication.
"If you suspect that you have diabetes then you must see your GP as soon as possible. Symptoms include constant thirst, feeling tired, waking up in the middle of night to pass water, and losing weight despite having a healthy appetite."
|West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust|