Diabetes in writingDifferences in the delivery of diabetes care and treatment has led to variations in patient outcomes, and the charity recognises the urgent need to address these issues to ensure people living with diabetes consistently receive the best possible care and treatment. The Clinical Champions initiative – a Diabetes UK project in collaboration with Novo Nordisk, a global leader in diabetes care – is crucial in helping to achieve this.

A total of 20 Clinical Champions have been selected by the charity this year based on their skills, clinical expertise, passion and integrity. A key ingredient in the selection process is to identify Champions with the potential to make a real difference by delivering tangible improvements in care.

The Clinical Champions will be in post for two years and will receive the support and personal and professional development they need to become catalysts for change in their areas of expertise and to act as advocates for people with diabetes. Ultimately the scheme will help them develop the knowledge and skills to deliver the leadership needed at a local level to promote the needs of people with diabetes among commissioners, service managers and healthcare professionals.

The Clinical Champion programme was launched by Diabetes UK last year with funding and support from Novo Nordisk, with the recruitment of the first tranche of 10 Clinical Champions across a mix of specialist consultants, GPs and diabetes specialist nurses. These Champions are already delivering some truly inspiring transformations, for example the introduction of a simple medication algorithm across four clinical commissioning groups in Birmingham to ensure patients have equal access to treatment regardless of where they live.

One of the major benefits of bringing together a range of Clinical Champions from community, primary and secondary care is that it enables unique multi-disciplinary working, with clinicians appointed from across the diabetes care pathway. This enables people to step outside of local hierarchies and rivalries and really engage with the changes needed across diabetes care.

Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said:

“Clinicians are uniquely well placed to identify how diabetes services could be improved, but are all too often left frustrated and unable to deliver this change. However, as Clinical Champions, they have the unique opportunity to draw on their expertise and take action to make a real difference to the lives of people living with diabetes.

"There is a diabetes crisis in the UK with 3.9 million people living with the condition, 590,000 of whom don’t realise it as they have not yet been diagnosed.1 "There is clear evidence that investment in better diabetes care brings about both human and economic benefit; having effective services in place helps reduce the personally devastating, and costly, health complications that can develop as a result of diabetes being poorly managed.

"As such the Champions have an essential role to play in promoting and delivering on innovative best practice.”

One of the newly appointed Clinical Champions, Dr Sam Rice, Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at Hywel Dda University Health Board, added:

“Diabetes is an ever increasing burden to both patients and their care providers. In the current resource-stretched environment it is vital to consider and develop innovations that address patient requirement as well as our ability to deliver care.

"In my experience, attempts to develop and deliver changes in care processes within large NHS organisations can be both frustrating and disheartening. I hope this role will provide me with the skill set necessary to increase the delivery and extend new concepts of care that will ultimately help us to support patients to manage their diabetes while also receiving the clinical care they need.

"I hope to develop and deliver novel methods of patient education and support, often through the use of modern technology, and therefore provide both quality and equitable support that can be easily accessed by all those who want and need it.”


For more information about the project visit https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Professionals/Service-improvement/Clinical-Champions-and-networks/