Diabetes in writingPharmacists specialising in diabetes are being urged to become ‘Clinical Champions’ to help improve services in their area to deliver better care for people with diabetes. 

The highly successful two-year leadership programme run by Diabetes UK is recruiting a new cohort of clinicians to drive change across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The voluntary role runs for two years and includes a package of support and training.

Current ‘Clinical Champions’ include consultants, GPs, nurses, dietitians, podiatrists and senior pharmacists. They are experienced in treating the complex needs of people with diabetes and are significantly improving care for people living with diabetes.

The need for change is underlined by a diabetes crisis in the UK - 4.5 million people have diabetes including one million with type 2 diabetes who don’t know they have the condition.

Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew said:  “Clinicians can see where improvements are needed to diabetes services, but are all too often left frustrated and unable to deliver change. There’s clear evidence investment in better diabetes care is beneficial to people with diabetes and is cost effective. Effective services help people manage their diabetes well, reducing the number of devastating and costly health complications. Our Clinical Champions are part of a network of like-minded clinicians playing a critical role in promoting and delivering innovative and life-changing best practice.”

Dr Sri Bellary, a Consultant at the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion, has developed a clinical network spanning four CCGs.  “The Clinical Champions programme has benefitted me immensely and has helped me understand the potential for change. I have established a pan Birmingham network that has developed a commonly agreed list of approved medication. This will provide equal access to medications for all patients regardless of where they live. There will be more consistency in the way drugs will be prescribed and less confusion. It will also allow some of the newer therapies to be used responsibly and their use to be monitored.”

Novo Nordisk provides financial support for the programme.