Mallorca. Sunshine, friends, drinks, food and some much needed down time. You never quite realise how jaded the mind can get in the hustle bustle of day to day life- and how important "taking a break" can be.
Its that ever gnawing feeling of wondering whether it's "enough" or have we done as much as can be done - and it's the consistent worry whether you are doing the right thing, whether you are qualified to do the job you are (ah yes, the dreaded imposter syndrome, isn't it) and as I type this while setting off for Mallorca, I suppose self reflection brings the usual queries...is it.."enough"? In the midst of all that landed a most beautiful message from Chris Askew, CEO of Diabetes UK. Sometimes the little words matter...behind the ultra secure confidence of my personality still sits that boy from school wracked with doubts, wondering whether it's "enough". Someday when I feel brave enough..that will be some story to tell too. But for now, as I power down, so to speak, looking back at the week has given me a little bit of belief that maybe somethings are coming together.
The week has been one of considerable activity. Monday brought the release of Language Matters for diabetes...and as one of the co-authors pointed out? One with the lowest troll: praise ratios he had seen any campaign garner. A major testimony to the hard work of many - and well documented in the paper itself- but to me, this held two fundamental differences between other works done in Australia or the USA. One: this was now official NHS policy- a fundamental statement of intent from the national policy body of diabetes and more importantly? Two: it showed it was possible for ALL diabetes bodies to work together on something- and actually deliver- quickly. The camaraderie was noticeable, the desire to improve care was palpable- and my role was very simple...get them together? The rest? It's there for you to see and judge. My tip? Don't dismiss it as politically correct nonsense...this is what those living with diabetes are telling us- and could hold a major key to improving care. Money matters- but so does some basics of how we provide care.
The Type1 diabetes technology pathway also came out and an absolute brilliant piece of work- attempting to simplify and amalgamate the multiple guidelines out there as regards diabetes technology. Again, this involved a significant number of organisations and experts to work together- and the collective effort showed what a common goal could achieve. On a personal level, that is the purpose of any leadership role...trying to get all the boundless energy and passion into a focus...which can improve care. This document is a starting point as regards improving access to technology- and we have much yet to do...but it's certainly a step in the right direction. Education and procurement will be the next areas to focus on...exciting times....change takes time and patience and let's see how this evolves
In addition, a trip to Belfast gave the opportunity to meet some amazing teams in Northern Ireland but more importantly, sight of a simple yet effective way of tackling insulin errors in hospitals. It wasn't any swish technology, nor any mandatory module to complete...yet something so basic that it made me wonder why we hadn't actually considered it. Bold, yet simple and to effect that will probably need Health education England; NHS England and NHS Improvement working together. Is it possible? Potentially yes - and as ever, littered with obstacles but worth a role of the dice for sure. We shall see - but certainly was an eye opener in the concept of its simplicity yet potential effectiveness.
Other bits involved securing speakers for what could be an exciting day showcasing relevance of mental health and diabetes- and highlighting good examples. This is something we are all really keen on...and involved in setting up the initial work around tackling this issue around the country. It's a challenge worth taking on- and it's been encouraging to see the level of keenness - at all levels- to try and improve this. In addition- confirming the 4th edition of Talking About Diabetes event. 30th March 2019...it will been..again. The last 3 years have been absolutely amazing as regards the education it has given me..as well as seeing so many folks with Type 1 diabetes come together...laugh, smile, enjoy their day together? Worth every single moment.
So a week of much fun...blitzed in between the clinics at work, meetings regards Language Matters ....a constant theme of being in the space...while wondering whether it's "enough". So we try more, we try again...we keep at it...we finish one project and we move to the next one. The amazing thing? The HCPs around you- who keep offering to help, the folks loving with diabetes who keep stepping up to help...their infectious enthusiasm making the next project the next "fun" thing to do.
But now? It's time for a bit of a break. Just with friends. Enjoy some football. Drink some beers. Just to get the energy levels back up. And then we go again. Mental health, technology, out of hour support, self management platform, comic book, safety in hospitals, frailty issues...the list is never endless- but that's part of the fun too. And therein lies the trick. The day the job isn't fun anymore? It's time to do something else. Till then? Thank you all for your support and constructive criticisms ...they all do indeed help.
See you all in a bit x