What do you call a group of diabetes specialists? I don't know but whatever it is, "it" was there. Interspersed with people who had diabetes, fellow healthcare professionals, managers, colleagues from all parts of the diabetes world in this country, the annual Quality in Care awards in Guildford brought many together.
As I sat down in a corner, looking around, what struck me was the atmosphere..bustling with energy- amongst some old friends, there were many a new face some who I had heard of, some who I knew virtually via Twitter. I won't do a narrative run down of the event itself but the event had something about it. It was fabulous to see teams like the Liverpool team led by Reza Zaidi pick up a recognition. The drive to improve things has always shine through in Reza so it was great to see the recognition. Same for Paul Peters and his team from Durham,Jackie Eliott from Sheffield or May from Southport. The North West London team deserved every one they picked up as their drive, hunger and ambition to improve diabetes care has stood out like a beacon in recent times. And why not get the opportunity to shine and enjoy their moment in the sun?
The Diabetes Research Wellness Foundation, led by Sarah Tutton, was deservedly recognised for all the local work they do- as was some fabulous individuals such as Sheila Smyth for their work. There were 3 personal reasons of satisfaction- the first two were related to projects I have been involved with- the Type 1 diabetes comic book and the information portal for Type 1 diabetes, T1resources. My only role in those were mostly to get the right people together but the credit for the comic book sits with Mayank, Danny, Joe, Jen, Andy and Laura. I know that sounds ridiculously self effacing but humility isn't my forte and on this one, credit where it's due. Same for the T1resources...the work done by Sophie, Mike and Kevin were astounding. Committed individuals working together to improve diabetes care- what else can one ask for?
I suspect the main joy for me was to establish an NHS England award recognising contribution above and beyond the call of duty. I do believe that our role cannot be simply to criticise or roll down diktats about the next target- but also to step in and laud good work where it's happening. A most deserved winner for Oliver Jelly- I would struggle to think of a more self effacing, unobtrusive person who has and continues to do so much to champion diabetes care. His expression was worth every single moment indeed!
Finally, thank you to Sanofi for hosting it and especially Becky Reeves who I have known as a friend for a long time. It was a fabulous evening- and for me, in a policy role or as someone who has snapped and barked while trying to raise the profile of diabetes care...yesterday evening felt like my job is nearly done on this front. The room was full of individuals who understood the pressure of the NHS but hadn't dampened their spirit or drive to improve diabetes care - and they stood together with patients in an effort to do so. Much more needs to happen but the will is there, it feels the morale isn't broken...and that to me, is the main thing which will improve care- not the money or a stick about "who isn't doing well" . Thank you to all who were there- thank you for all the work you do and the passion to improve care.
It is much appreciated. X