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New centre at Watford General Hospital dedicated to providing better care for diabetics
A new diabetes centre was opened yesterday (Wednesday), named after one of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s longest serving consultants.
Dr Michael Clements officially opened the new "Michael Clements Diabetes Centre" by unveiling a plaque in front of an audience of patients and colleagues, past and present.
The occasion gave those gathered an opportunity to look around the new facilities, before speeches were made by Consultant Dr Arla Ogilvie and Dr Clements himself.
According to Dr Clements, one of the trust’s most renowned clinical experts, the new centre will act as a hub of information not only for doctors treating diabetes but also patients suffering from the disease.
He said: "We have been working towards this clinic for the past 24 years.
"It’s wonderful to think that we achieved this build within my working career and it was a particular honour to discover the clinic has been named after me - it was a complete surprise.
"The aim of this diabetes centre is to become a beacon site for the management of diabetes locally and an important resource for the community.
"It will provide increasing availability to structured education for patients with diabetes and members of staff and allow patients, particularly those with type 1 diabetes, more direct access to specialist teams.
"The new centre will also provide enhanced training for the next generation of diabetes clinicians, which, in the light of the astonishing rise in the frequency of the condition, is vitally important."
The UK is currently facing a huge increase in the number of people with diabetes. Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled, from 1.4 million to 2.9 million.
It is estimated that by 2025, five million people will have diabetes, 90 per cent of whom will have type 2 diabetes because of our aging population and increasing obesity.
At present, worldwide there are more than 366 million people with the disease.
In the UK, one in 20 people has diabetes, with more than 400 people diagnosed every day.
At Watford General Hospital, 17 per cent of the in-patients at any one time have diabetes.
Dr Clements said: "Certainly in recent years I have noticed a sharp rise in patients suffering from diabetes. We are getting patients who are younger and younger suffering from type 1, even children under the age of five.
"And as we don’t know what essentially causes type 1 diabetes, we’re hoping this facility will help educate not just the next generation of diabetes clinicians, but also patients as well.”
The centre, at the front of the hospital in Vicarage Road, cost in the region of half a million pounds to build and furnish. The build was made possible thanks to donations and fundraising by individual patients, local diabetic organisations and collaborative research with the pharmaceutical industry.
Type one diabetes sufferer Paul Bowen, 23, was among the guests at the centre’s opening.
Earlier this year, he ran a marathon to raise money to pay for the new facility, and said he was pleased he could help contribute to such a good cause.
Sharon Carter, diabetes specialist nurse, said the new centre would make a real difference to the hospital. She said: "Before we were using an old portable cabin, which wasn’t really adequate.
"On one occasion I remember opening a window and a pane of glass fell out, so it wasn’t exactly state-of-the-art. If anything, I think this new centre highlights how important an issue diabetes is becoming in Hertfordshire."