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New tool to recognise depression in diabetes

A new e-skill module to enable nurses and GP’s to spot the signs and manage depression in patients with diabetes launches today at Guy’s Hospital. The development of the package was led by academics at King’s College London as part of the South London Health Innovation and Education Cluster (HIEC).

According to National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, depression in adults is approximately two to three times more common in patients with a chronic physical health problem than in people who have good physical health.

The e-module demonstrates a simple transferable method to embed learning into care delivery, providing GPs and diabetes nurses with the opportunity to learn skills to spot depression more easily and treat the problems more quickly. 

Professor Khalida Ismail from the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s led the development of the package. She  explains: ‘Depression is twice as common in patients with diabetes than in the general population.  Many also suffer from anxiety.  It is very important for depression to be recognised and treated as soon as possible.  We have found that if they then develop complications, such as foot ulcers, their risk of dying in the next 18 months increases threefold.  It can be hard to identify depression in someone with diabetes and we hope that this e-skill module will increase awareness among professionals working in the primary care setting.’

The South London HIEC is a partnership of King’s Health Partners and brings together more than 30 healthcare organisations, academic institutions, social care providers, industry and charity partners in South London aimed at delivering high quality patient care through better trained clinicians and faster translation and adoption of research and innovation.

Professor Anne Greenough, Head of the School of Medicine at King’s and Chief Executive of the South London HIEC said: ‘We are especially reminded during depression awareness week, just how important it is for diabetes clinicians to spot the early signs of depression in their patients. Users of this concise e-learning module will have the benefit of understanding and learning best practice from peers who have piloted and shared specialist knowledge, without having to wait for a classroom based course.’

For more information, please contact Seil Collins, Press Officer, Institute of Psychiatry, email: or tel: 0207 848 5377