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Diabetes Self-Management Alliance

Alliance formed to promote diabetes education

A new international alliance has been formed with a commitment to bring “wholesale changes” to diabetes self-management.

Leading figures in Type 2 diabetes self-management from across the globe came together at the Leicester Diabetes Centre on Wednesday, September 23, and Thursday, September 24, to establish a “vision for patient-centred care”.

Doctors, nurses, researchers and healthcare managers from America, Australia, Qatar, Denmark, Holland, Ireland and the UK attended the ‘Supporting a Therapeutic Patient Alliance for Better Self-Management and Care in Diabetes Summit’.

Ideas, thoughts and opinions on creating and supporting an international union to promote the field were exchanged, an agreement was made to work together and a pledge to make self-management programmes “accessible worldwide”.

Organiser Professor Heather Daly, from the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said: “In England and Wales only 14 per cent of healthcare professionals offer structured diabetes education classes and only 10 per cent of people with diabetes have attended a structured education programme.

“Much ignorance and prevalent myths exist around structured education, yet there is clear evidence of the benefits of it and without it how can people be expected to manage a life-long, complex condition themselves.

“The summit has been about generating a movement, a vision for patient-centred care and to initiative whole changes in the pursuit of access to structured education for everyone to enable better self management.”

There was representation for UK-based diabetes self-care programmes at the event, as well as international leaders in diabetes research, people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and healthcare professionals from all elements of diabetes care.

Diabetes education pioneer Professor Bob Anderson, formerly of the Michigan Center for Diabetes Translational Research, gave a keynote speech exploring the journey of self-management through the ages.

He said: “Benjamin Franklin said we need to hang together otherwise we will hang alone. These people have credibility and if they form an alliance then they will get things done.”

Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes, attended the two-day conference and gave his support to the alliance.

He said: “The All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes welcomes the drive of the Leicester Diabetes Centre to create an alliance of people who have an interested in, or are affected by, diabetes. We would like to hear more about what Leicester is doing and the meetings held in the future.”

Delegate Helen Mitchell, who is the General Manager of Health Services at Diabetes Western Australia, said: “The summit has been a huge fact-finding exercise and a fantastic opportunity to exchange ideas and find out how other countries are overcoming common challenges to enable the delivery of high-quality self management.”

Fellow attendee Dr Anne Kilvert, a Diabetes Consultant from Northampton General Hospital, said: “It’s been very stimulating and thought-provoking and good to hear from people from different countries.”

Muneera Al Ali, Head of Dieticians at Hamad Medical Corporation in Qatar, said: “The alliance will enable us to share experiences, exchange ideas and best practice back to our country.”

A report containing all of the agreed statements, priorities and ‘action points’ will be drafted and sent to all members of the alliance, with plans for another meetings already being made.

The Leicester Diabetes Centre is an international centre of excellence in research, education and innovation, which is a partnership between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester and led by Professor Kamlesh Kamlesh Khunti and Professor Melanie Davies. It is located at Leicester General Hospital.

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