Clinic facilities

How a first UK clinic in Gateshead sees pharmacists transforming care for patients with heart failure and diabetes

The UK’s first joint clinic for heart failure and diabetes patients run by pharmacists is based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.

The team behind the EQ Clinic spoke of its transformative impact on the care of patients with complex needs. Claire Davies, one of the chief expert pharmacists who runs the service, explained how it helps to prevent seriously ill people from being “overwhelmed” by their hospital visit.

Claire told ChronicleLive how, given that there are certain drugs such as dapagliflozin that are now treatments for both conditions, the joint clinic made logical sense. She added: “Heart failure and diabetes are closely linked – we know that if you have diabetes you are at risk of heart failure, and vice versa. We noticed there was a gap in the service for people with both diseases.

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“It’s the answer to how best to manage this. It’s the first of its kind – allowing us to see and examine patients with heart failure and diabetes at the same time.”

The new clinic adds to Gateshead’s state-of-the-art pharmaceutical facilities – the QE was among the first places in the country to invest in a state-of-the-art medicine dispensing robot – as pharmacists are constantly at work considering the best treatments for patients with his laboratory team.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital pharmacy robot in action in Gateshead

Claire explained that the philosophy of the QE pharmacy team is to ensure that each patient’s medicine is optimal. She added: “For us, if you come to the hospital, we want to make sure that the medicine is safe for everyone who walks through the front door. At some point during your stay, we will see you and we will We’ll make sure your medications are safe.”

She said one of the main successes of the new clinic – which was positively rated by patients, according to the team – was how it means pharmacists can take some of the pressure off other members of the hospital staff. She added: “It frees up other teams. We could be in the clinic for ten hours, but it means nurses and doctors can be freed up for other patient care.”

His colleague Hamza Khalil echoed this. He said: “We always check that we’ve given the right dose of the right medicine for the right condition – and it all comes down to the person and what they’re going through. We have to be so careful that the Sometimes a medicine may be suitable outside the hospital setting, but if you are hospitalized for an acute illness, this may no longer be the case.

“People are positive about how when they arrive they are seen for both of their conditions.”

Chief Pharmacist Mark Thomas added: “The conversation has always been about setting up the clinic with patients in mind. They have complicated needs. It’s about offering them the best way possible rather than possibly having to going to the hospital for several things.”