Wanted: diabetes 'patient advisers'
If you have diabetes and would like to offer support and advice to other people with this condition, then staff in the Elsie Bertram Diabetes Centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital would like to hear from you.
Two diabetes 'patient champions' have been appointed to lead this new initiative in Norfolk – Martin Land, from Wicklewood, and Dave Rea from Norwich. Their role is to give patients a voice in the planning and development of diabetes services and to raise awareness of diabetes locally.
Martin and Dave are members of the Norfolk Integrated Diabetes Management (NIDM) group, which is working on a National Service Framework for Diabetes for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the four local Primary Care Trusts.
One of their first tasks as patient champions is to develop a group of 'diabetes patient advisers' who can offer advice, support and guidance to other people with diabetes.
An open day will be held at Dunston Hall on Wednesday 26 May with sessions starting at 15:00 – 17:00 and 19:00 – 21:00, when Martin and Dave will be available to talk to potential volunteers and answer their questions, along with staff from the Elsie Bertram Diabetes Centre at NNUH and the local Primary Care Trusts.
The roles of patient champion and patient adviser are unpaid but these volunteers will make a big difference in raising awareness and helping local people with diabetes to get the support and information they need to help them manage the disease.
Patient champion Martin Land, who runs a sewing machine company, says: “I've had Type 1 diabetes for 37 years and two of my four children also have it. I see this new initiative as a great opportunity to give diabetes a more positive image, to reduce the fear factor and reassure people that it's perfectly possible to live a normal life with diabetes. “I am also extremely optimistic that a cure will be found as there is a great deal of research going on in this field.”
Dave Rea, who runs his own double-glazing firm, admits he knew very little about diabetes when he was diagnosed Type 2 (or late-onset) diabetes two years ago. “It came as a complete shock but I've learned there's a lot I can do to help myself by watching my diet and making changes to my lifestyle. As a patient champion, I hope to raise awareness and to show that treatment for diabetes is a lot better now than it was a few years ago.”
A diabetes 'patient adviser' programme has been running successfully in the Isle of Wight for the past four years.
The Elsie Bertram Diabetes Centre will be closely involved in the Norfolk programme and each of the patient advisers will be trained and supported by experienced staff from the Centre
If you are interested in becoming a patient adviser or would like more information on this role , please contact Debbie Cook (01603 287387), Liz Coles (01603 287094) or Dr Mike Sampson (01603 289874).
The picture shows diabetes champions Dave Rea (left) and Martin Land with Debbie Cook, project manager for the Elsie Bertram Diabetes Centre.
The open day for diabetes advisers will be held at Dunston Hall on Wednesday 26 May with sessions starting at 15:00 – 17:00pm and 19:00 – 21:00, when Martin and Dave will be available to talk to potential volunteers and answer their questions, along with staff from the Elsie Bertram Diabetes Centre at NNUH and the local Primary Care Trusts.
Media Contact: Sue Jones on 01603 289554