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10 January 2012

UH Bristol Consultant Named as NHS Diabetes Champion for Older People in Southern England

Dr Simon Croxson, Consultant Physician in Geriatric and Diabetic Medicine at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol), has been confirmed as NHS Regional Champion of the Older People's Diabetes Network (OPDN) for southern England. 

The OPDN is being developed as a partnership between NHS Diabetes and the Institute of Diabetes for Older People (IDOP) and is led by the National Clinical Lead for Diabetes in Older People, Professor Alan Sinclair.  The project is managed by Julian Backhouse at NHS Diabetes.  It will bring together health and social care professionals who share a common goal:  to ensure that older people with diabetes get the best possible care. 

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age.  It can be managed but not cured, and diabetes in older people is common, often serious and complex.  One in four older people in residential and nursing care will have diabetes and preventing complications in this group is a priority.  

Diabetes and age-related decline are strongly associated with major metabolic disturbance, vascular disease, functional loss, cognitive dysfunction, depressive illness, infections and falls.  Innovative strategies are needed to minimise the negative impact of diabetes in this group.  

Dr Croxson, in collaboration with other experts in the field - to include a co-ordinator (Alison Fowler), GPs, diabetes specialist nurses, psychiatrists, podiatrists, care home matrons etc - aims to identify and promote best clinical practice, based on collective experience, reading and research.  The challenge is to ensure that diabetes is not a barrier to excellent care in old age and that old age is not a barrier to excellent diabetes care. 

"Diabetes affects 15% of the white British elderly and at least 25% of the Indo-Asian British elderly," says Simon Croxson.  "It is associated with coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cognitive impairment, falls, infection, admission to care homes and other problems; hence we see many elderly diabetic people on our wards." 

Dr Sean O'Kelly, Medical Director of UH Bristol, says:  "Simon Croxson is regarded as a leading expert on diabetes in the elderly; this having been his specialist area for 20 years.  Identifying key objectives for promoting best clinical practice within the region is an important project.  This is a terrific opportunity to enhance diabetes care for older people in England." 

Dr Croxson has been a consultant in general medicine for the elderly at UH Bristol since 1994.  He was Chairman of the British Geriatrics Society Special Interest Group in Diabetes and is a Co-editor of Practical Diabetes International Journal.