Nurse recognised for providing excellent diabetes care in North East Essex

An Essex nurse has been recognised for helping to provide exceptional care to diabetes patients across North East Essex.

Shelia Smyth, Chief Nurse at Suffolk GP Federation, said she was delighted to have been named ‘Outstanding Educator of Diabetes’ at the recent Quality in Care Diabetes Awards.

Mrs Smyth has been responsible for overseeing and developing the North East Essex Diabetes Service (NEEDS).

Suffolk GP Federation launched NEEDS in 2014 and is responsible for delivering Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes care and education across Colchester and Tendring.

A significant part of this work has been to provide improved training to healthcare professionals in the area, so they can  deliver high quality care to patients. This has included helping to develop a dedicated education programme with the University of Essex.

The programme, ‘Advanced Management of Diabetes’, has helped to upskill more than 140  healthcare professionals, with a particular focus on those from Essex and Suffolk.

Mrs Smyth said: “Key to the success of NEEDS has been the up-skilling of healthcare professionals to link in with diabetes specialist teams, which has helped to provide high quality care for patients living within the area.

“I am very grateful to receive this award and would really like to thank the entirety of the NEEDS team for their contributions to the service along with colleagues from the university for their tremendous support.”=

The Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes Awards recognise innovative practice that demonstrate excellence in diabetes management, education and services.

Commenting on Mrs Smyth’s work the judges said: “Sheila Smyth not only delivered accredited education at the University of Essex, she also devised and wrote the whole programme, supported by local consultants and her team. She truly is an inspirational lead.”

Since NEEDS launched in 2014, 74.2% of diabetes patients (7,629) now receive all of the eight health checks recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence  (up from 40.1% in April 2014). These include blood glucose levels, Body Mass Index (BMI) and foot health.

All North East Essex GP practices have also reported better outcomes in diabetes patient outcomes in comparison to 2014.

For more information about NEEDS, visit