Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A year on diabetes education

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Diabetes has spent the last year investigating the state of diabetes education. They've collected evidence from a wide variety of sources including HCPs, academics, commissioners, providers of education courses and patients to better understand the different types of learning and support available, the gaps in service and to identify reasons for low uptake when structured education is offered to individuals.

Part of the evidence presented to the APPG came from the Our Diabetes tweet chat back in August hosted by Adrian Sanders MP (chair of the APPG) with the help of JDRF UK.

Four questions were asked:

Question 1: Where do you currently look for advice & support to help you self-manage your diabetes?

Question 2: What gaps are there in the current provision of education? What other training & support would you or your family find useful?

Question 3: How should education and support best be delivered and by who?

Question 4: How confident do you feel that you know what diabetes education and support is available to you – both locally and nationally?

A lively discussion ensued with over 80 people getting involved. If you were one of those people I'd like to thank you for contributing to such an important subject. A summary of the discussion provided to the APPG can be viewed here and a full transcript of the chat is also available.

The evidence collected has been written into a report which will be submitted to the Department for Health and disseminated among Clinical Commissioning Groups.

So why am I telling you all this?

The report will be launched by the APPG on the 4th March at 12:20-2:30pm in the House of Commons and if you believe (like I do) that diabetes education is an important part of self-care and should be available to all, I would urge you to contact your local MP and ask if they could attend the launch. The more MPs we can educate on the dire situation diabetes education finds itself in the more chance things can and will be changed for the better. I'll give some you pointers on how you could do this at the end of the blog.

After the launch, a copy of the report will be made available to download from the JDRF website and I will update this blog with a link to it once it's available. I'm also hoping to tweet throughout the event using the #APPGdiabetes hashtag to give you a flavour of what's being discussed.

I've been asked to speak at the launch and I feel very privileged to be allowed to speak about something I care so passionately about. I would like to thank JDRF and the APPG for giving me this opportunity.
I'll be sharing some of my own thoughts and experiences on diabetes education: how it has impacted me; why I believe it's important and; why it shouldn't be something limited to the "lucky" few.

Thank you for helping put diabetes education on the agenda and thank you to Diabetes UK, JDRF UK and the APPG for all the hard work they've put in over the past year!

Contacting Your MP

For some, the first thing to do is find out who your MP is! Thankfully finding your MP is easy, you just need to visit the parliament website, enter your post code in the keyword search box and click the "go" button. You will then be presented with all the contact details of your local MP.

Many have Twitter and Facebook accounts providing an easy way to contact them, some have websites with a contact page or email address you can use to get in touch and if all else fails they will have a telephone number you can call.

Ideally it's worth contacting them via email or telephone so you can provide more detail on why it's important to you that they attend. If they can make time to attend the launch please thank them for supporting your request and if you mention them on Twitter please include the #APPGdiabetes hashtag so everyone can see who's supporting and attending.

When you contact your MP here are some facts you might like to share:
Diabetes costs the NHS £9.8 billion a year in direct costs, in large part due to complications that are mostly preventable. With approximately 98 per cent of diabetes care falling to self-care, education and support are key to the successful day to day self-management of diabetes and have been shown to reduce the risk of complications, improve quality of life and reduce the costs of long term care. However, less than two per cent of people with diabetes were recorded as having attended structured education in the last National Diabetes Audit.

If you are having trouble working out how to contact your MP I'm more than happy to help, either leave a comment here or tweet me (@davidcragg) with the problem you're having.