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 Catherine Conway and Charge Nurse Manager is Christine Baxter.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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).
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.
Psychologists are registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board and have had at least seven years of intensive university education. They've learned how to listen to and understand people's problems, and how to help people make changes in their lives.
People will often be referred to see a psychologist at the Diabetes Centre when their diabetes is affecting or causing a mental health problem, or when they have an existing mental health problem that is now impacting on their management of their diabetes. Examples of the sorts of areas that psychologists may be able to help with are:
Please note, given the high demands on this service psychologists at the Diabetes Centre are not able to offer treatment for mental health problems which are unrelated to, or not significantly impacting on, diabetes management.
From our experience, the sooner you are aware you have a problem, the least time it takes to work through the problem. If you are struggling to manage your difficulties with your current support network talk with your diabetes clinician about whether a referral to the diabetes psychologists is appropriate.
There are two part time Psychologists at the Centre.
During an appointment at the Diabetes Center the person you are seeing may suggest a referral if there are problems or difficulties affecting your diabetes management. If you are uncertain about whether it would be helpful to a clinical psychologist, talk to your diabetes clinician to discuss this.
Given the high demand for this service, there is often a waiting list to see a psychologist. Your diabetes clinician will refer you to the diabetes psychologists who will place you on a waitlist if your referral is accepted. You will then be notified of your appointment time when it is your turn for assessment and treatment. If you believe your mental health care is urgent please talk to your GP, or for crisis intervention, please contact the Crisis Resolution team on 0800 920 092
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.
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.
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.
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:
The Pacific Island Nurse Specialist (Lupe Tu'ulua) works to provide the following
If you need more information please contact:
Phone: 03 364 0860
Māori Diabetes Nurse Specialist (Debbie Rawiri) is available for:
For more information contact the Diabetes Centre. Phone: 03 364 0860
If you would like to know more about the following topics, please see to our partner website www.healthinfo.org.nz
If you have received a letter from the Diabetes Centre advising you have an appointment, please email us or call us to confirm (or change) your appointment using the contact details below:
It is important that you confirm your appointment, or contact us if this appointment is no longer required so that we can make it available to other patients.
Diabetes outpatients can update personal details using the form below or telephone 0800 555 400.
You can CONFIRM or CHANGE a diabetes appointment using the form below, or telephone 0800 555 400. If you wish to CHANGE an appointment the diabetes service will contact you to reschedule your appointment within 24 hours (Mon-Fri).
Page last updated: 20 January 2023
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