A NEW initiative that aims to make sure diabetic women in Bournemouth and Poole have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies could be used as a national model.

Diabetes “tsar” Dr Rowan Hillson visited the Royal Bournemouth Hospital’s Diabetes and Endocrine Centre to hear more about the project, called Diabetes Concept.

Poole Hospital and NHS Bournemouth and Poole (the primary care trust) are also involved in the drive to improve care of women with diabetes who are planning pregnancy or who have an unplanned pregnancy.

During a review of medication by community pharmacists, diabetic women between 16 and 45 are asked if they intend to start a family. If so, the pharmacist can offer advice and information and even refer the women directly to the diabetes pre-conception clinic.

The first few weeks of pregnancy are crucial for women with diabetes, as that is when the embryo is most at risk from higher blood glucose levels and associated medications.

Dr Tristan Richardson, who created Diabetes Concept with registrar Dr Kate Fayers, said: “Fifty per cent of people, whether they have diabetes or not, don’t plan their pregnancy. With diabetes, it’s crucial that they do, because control at the time of conception has a massive impact on the baby’s health.”

Dr Hillson, the national clinical director for diabetes, said: “One of the difficulties is women with type two diabetes may not realise it’s very important for them to talk with their doctor about the fact that they want to have a baby, so they can have a medication review and be referred to a specialist pre-conception clinic.

“We are already looking at the Diabetes Concept project as one that could potentially transfer nationwide. I think the work they are doing here is fantastic.

“I’m particularly impressed with the fact that the hospital diabetes services and primary care trust are working so closely together.”