Diabetes Service

The Diabetes Service provides a community and an outpatient consultation service for patients on referral from general practitioners and other health professionals. It provides ongoing surveillance of diabetes management and complications status for selected patients who are at higher risk of developing diabetes complications.

The Service also provides medical and diabetes nurse educator consultation services to the hospital wards.

An acute intervention service is provided to prevent hospital admissions by having a diabetes physician on call by cell-phone 24 hours a day available to general practitioners.

Diabetes is a disorder much influenced by lifestyle. This requires a strong focus on patient education to achieve behavioral changes.

The Diabetes Service has a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Diabetes Physicians, Diabetes Nurse Educators and Nurse Specialists, Dietitians, Psychologists, Social Worker, Podiatrists, Māori Diabetes Nurse Specialist and Health Worker, a Pacific Island Diabetes Nurse Specialist and a Diabetes Child and Youth Nurse​.

The Diabetes Service caters for people with diabetes over the age of 15 years within the Canterbury District Health Board area.

The Clinical Director is Dr Juliet Berkeley and Clinical Manager is Sandy Marshall.

Diabetes can affect anyone at any age.

Diabetes is a metabolic condition where the glucose in the bloodstream is too high. Metabolism is the process for our bodies to use digested food for energy and growth. When we eat carbohydrate foods these foods are digested in the stomach and the glucose from the foods enters our bloodstream.

Glucose is the principal source of fuel for our body.

An organ called the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin, which enables the glucose in our bloodstream to enter the cells. This action lowers the blood glucose level and assists to regulate the amount of glucose in our blood.

A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too high (hyperglycemia). This is because the body does not produce enough insulin, or produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces.

Excess blood glucose is eventually excreted out of the body in the urine. Even though the blood has adequate glucose, the cells are not receiving the glucose, which is essential for the body’s energy and growth requirements.

Diabetes is a potentially life threatening condition if not managed well.

There are 4 main types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes – The pancreas produces no insulin at all. A person with Type 1 diabetes is reliant on daily insulin injections for life. it is important to control it the best you can, because at present, there is no cure.

Type 2 Diabetes – The pancreas is making some insulin, but not enough for daily needs. Diet, exercise, education and other lifestyle factors are critical to self-managing Type 2 diabetes.
Sometimes oral medication or insulin is also required.

Gestational Diabetes – diabetes that occurs during pregnancy but is not there after the pregnancy. It may recur with subsequent pregnancies and puts the person at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes which is secondary to other medical conditions, or to certain medications

Any of these types of diabetes can cause serious health problems if the blood sugars are not “controlled” i.e. kept as normal as possible. Potential problems include:

  • Eye damage, called “retinopathy” which can eventually lead to blindness if not treated
  • Kidney damage eventually leading to renal failure and the need for dialysis
  • Foot problems including ulcers, painful feet and, sometimes, amputation
  • Premature heart attacks and strokes.

The good news is that these problems can be largely avoided or delayed by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, having regular checks of the eyes, kidneys, and feet and for heart risk factors. There are effective treatments for many of these problems if detected early.

Access to the Diabetes services is by referral only through a medical practitioner or other health professional.

You may discuss with your GP or practice nurse whether it would be appropriate for you to be referred to the Diabetes Centre.

If you are a hospital inpatient, your doctor may ask for you to be seen by the diabetes team.

Access is free of charge to New Zealand citizens or those who have obtained permanent residence and are entitled to publicly funded healthcare. Non-residents may be required to pay for their healthcare. ​

What is a diabetes nurse?

We are registered nurses who have a special interest in diabetes and who have done post-graduate study to increase our knowledge and skills.

The nurses who work at the Diabetes Service are registered with the New Zealand Nursing Organisation. Services we provide for people with diabetes:

Individual appointments – we teach people who have diabetes and their families:

  1. We assess your needs and help you come up with a plan to meet your needs.
  2. We teach you how to test your blood glucose levels and how to use the results to improve your diabetes control.
  3. We teach you how to manage your diabetes using lifestyle changes and tablets or insulin injections.

4.We work with you to reduce your risk of complications and to get the best health outcomes you are capable of achieving.

Group sessions in conjunction with other members of the multidisciplinary team.

Telephone/Email Follow-up – you are able to contact the diabetes nurses between appointments via phone and email to discuss your blood glucose levels and medication adjustment or any concerns you may have. Your nurse can often answer questions or help you adjust medication in this manner without the need for a visit.

Who is available here?

Nurse Specialists:   
Marion Greenslade  ​ Sharon Walsh ​ Vicky Anderson​
  Debbie Rawiri ​ Lupe Tu’ulua​
  ​Cate Fleckney- Youth ​Tina Cook- Adolescent Nurse
  ​Kirsten Hatton- Inpatient

Community Diabetes Nursing Services

The Community Diabetes Nurse Specialists (CDNS) are available to general practice teams to:

  • assist with education and management of newly diagnosed patients with Type 2 diabetes.
  • work with practices to start insulin for those with Type 2 diabetes.
  • help practice teams to work with patients who are hard to reach or manage.
  • run education sessions for general practice teams on diabetes related topics.
  • assist with increasing the number of Diabetes Annual Checks.

To access the CDNS please fax the referral to the Diabetes Centre (364 0171) marked “for CDNS”. ​

What is a diabetes dietitian?

A Dietitian is a registered health professional who meets standards of professionalism required by the NZ Dietitians Board under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act HPCA Act (2003). A Dietitian has an undergraduate science degree in human nutrition, as well as a post-graduate diploma in Dietetics.

They are trained in the science of nutrition and diet therapy, qualified to work in areas that require nutritional assessment & counselling. Dietitians use effective nutritional management strategies, based upon current scientific evidence, to help individuals or groups to improve their health. (Ref dietitians NZ).

Services we provide for people with diabetes:

  • One to one individual appointments; Healthy eating, carbohydrate counting, weight reduction, label reading, gluten free diet, nutrition and ​managing insulin, nutrition and wound healing, improving heart health.
  • Group sessions in conjunction with other members of the multidisciplinary team.

Who we are?

Liz Love Carol Perwick​
Renee Wilson Danielle Lingard

How can I contact the dietitians?

Discuss with your GP or practice nurse whether it would be appropriate for you to be referred to the Diabetes Centre for specialist Dietetic advice regarding your diabetes.

Self referrals can also be accepted for our newly diagnosed type two diabetes workshop. Contact, ph: 364 0860 for more details.

What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists have studied psychology at University, usually for at least seven years. They have specialised in learning about how the feelings, actions, beliefs, experiences and culture of people affect the way they live. They have learned how to listen to and understand people’s emotional and psychological problems and how to help people make changes in their lives.

The clinical psychologists who work at the Diabetes Service are registered with the New Zealand Psychologist’s Board.

Services we provide for people with diabetes:

Why might I choose to see a clinical psychologist at the diabetes centre?
People come to see a Clinical Psychologist for a number of reasons:
For example, adjusting to having diabetes; difficulty in making the life changes necessary to stay well; difficulty managing anger, conflict and other emotions related to your health; depression, sadness and grief; anxiety, worries, panic and phobias related to your health; eating difficulties; and difficulty with coping with the complications of diabetes.

At what stage is it best to see a psychologist?
From our experience, the sooner you are aware you have a problem, the least time it takes to work through the problem

Who is available here?
There are two part time Psychologists at the Centre. Eric Lundin and Frances Carter.

How can I contact the psychologist?
Your health professional at the Centre may suggest that they make a referral for you, if there are problems affecting your diabetes management or your overall health and management. Alternatively you can ask your family doctor or nurse to refer you. If you are uncertain about whether it would be helpful to see us, you are most welcome to phone us directly to discuss this. Phone 3640 860 ext 89113.

What is a diabetes podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a health professional specialising in foot care; they are trained to deal with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs. A Diabetes Podiatrist has further experience in active foot disease related to people with diabetes

The podiatrists who work at the Diabetes Service are registered with the The Podiatrist Board of New Zealand.

Services we provide for people with diabetes:

At the Diabetes Centre, the podiatrists only see patients who have diabetes and a foot ulcer. An extensive assessment is carried at the first appointment and a management plan put in place to resolve their active foot problem, which may include other members of the multidisciplinary team.

How can I be Referred?

In the first instance see your GP or Health Professional to discuss whether it is appropriate to be referred to a Diabetes Podiatrist in the active foot disease clinic, or a Community Podiatrist.

Who is available here?

There are three podiatrists available at the Diabetes Centre; Karyn Ballance, Catherine McHerron & Stephen Percival.

The joint services are staffed by a paediatric or adolescent Nurse Specialist, Field Nurse, Child and Youth Nurse, paediatric dietitian, and psychologist from the child & family services. Their role includes:

  • Education for newly diagnosed children, adolescents and their families
  • Support for newly diagnosed children and their families, including home visits
  • Camping and holiday programmes
  • Classroom and staff education
  • Community awareness
  • Education evenings
  • Adolescent/paediatric clinics
  • Support for teens via phone, appointments and school clinics

The Pacific Island Nurse Specialist (Lupe Tu’ulua) works to provide the following

  • Support, advice and follow-up at Pacific Island Clinics
  • Community group education
  • Diabetes awareness and screening

If you need more information please contact:

Phone: 03 364-0860
Fax: 03 364-0171

Māori Diabetes Nurse Specialist (Debbie Rawiri) is available for:

  • Advice
  • Information
  • Māori Type 2 classes
  • One-one appointments for specialist education and support with the Nurse for whanau who have diabetes
  • Support with managing lifestyle changes with the goal of improved diabetes outcomes
  • Available to attend community based health days to raise awareness of diabetes

For more information contact the Diabetes Centre Phone: 03 364-0860

  • Type two diabetes workshop
  • Insulin classes for people with Type 2 diabetes who use insulin injections
  • Advance Course for people with Type 1 diabetes
  • Insulin Pump Course for people with Type 1 diabetes transferring from injections to an insulin pump.
  • (Classes are run in conjunction with dietitians, nurses and doctors)

Page last updated: 27 October 2018

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