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Diabetes group disbanded but health board wants to hear from patients as ‘business as usual’

A GROUP bringing patients with diabetes together with health officials was disbanded on the advice of the Welsh Government.

However the Aneurin Beavan Health Board, which is responsible for NHS services in Gwent, has said it is keen to work with patients and hear their opinions. Patient Theresa Harris used the public question session, during the health board’s annual general meeting, to ask about the closure of the Diabetes Planning and Delivery Group.

She said it was “very concerning” to her there was no longer an opportunity for diabetes patients to “voice their fears about the provision of health care” and that the board no longer benefited from the advice of patients.

Peter Carr, the board’s executive director of therapies and health science, said the group had been required of it by the Welsh Government as a national development plan was formed but that has now been replaced by a “quality statement”. Mr Carr said: “We were pleased to be involved in the development of it and had conversations with the Welsh Government about the future of the Diabetes Planning and Delivery Group and the advice, and steer, from the Welsh Government was we should step this down.”

He said the reason for that was it wanted delivery of services for those with diabetes to be seen as “business as usual”. Though there is no longer a group Mr Carr said: “We really welcome people getting in touch with us. There won’t be a group but there will be planning and delivering of services and patient representatives were really helpful to us.”

He also the board is “really interested” in hearing from young people with diabetes and about the transition from children’s services to adult services.

Other questions raised from the public during the meeting included concern over crumbling RAAC concrete, which was it was confirmed is confined to non ward buildings at Abergavenny’s Nevill Hall Hospital, and what the board is doing to address the financial pressures facing it.

Rob Holcombe, its director of finance, told Linda Joseph, who raised the question, the budget sets out the board has to make £51m of savings this year with around £30m having been rated as “green” which means they should be achievable.

He said those steps included controls on recruitment and even the use of photocopiers and switching lights off while more than 300 suggestions have been received from staff.

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Diabetes group disbanded but health board wants to hear from patients as ‘business as usual’

entrance sign outside hospital
The headquarters of the Aneurin Bevan Health Board are at St Cadoc's Hospital in Caerleon Credit: LDRS