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Four specialist nurses among new cohort of charity diabetes ‘champions’

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Diabetes specialist nurses are among a group of 20 new “clinical champions” announced by a charity to lead care developments for the long-term condition at a local level.

The list, published today by the charity Diabetes UK comprises consultants, nurses, GPs, dietitians, podiatrists and pharmacists (see below).

“My overall aim is to improve patient experience through collaborative working”

Helen Atkins

Among them are Agnieszka Graja, diabetes specialist nurse at Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Ani Kumar, lead diabetes specialist nurse at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust.

Helen Atkins, an advanced nurse practitioner at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, and Sian Bodman, a senior diabetes nurse at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board are also among the new champions.

There are four nurses on the list this year because a recent workforce survey highlighted that almost two thirds were having problems accessing professional development to enable them to take on leadership roles, said the charity.

The aim is to enable more diabetes specialist nurses to become decision-makers and champion the profession, noted Diabetes UK. The four will join the 11 nurses that are already part of the programme.

The Clinical Champions programme was launched by the charity in 2014, in partnership with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, which provides the funding for the initiative.

There are now 65 clinical champions across the UK, with access to a network of clinicians who they can share the “challenges they encounter, and the solutions they discover”, said the charity.

The overall aim of the programme is to support healthcare professionals to work towards addressing the significant variation in patient care and treatment for patients with diabetes.

The new cohort of champions have been selected based on their skills, clinical expertise and a demonstrable passion for transforming care for people with diabetes, said the charity.

Diabetes UK

Four nurses among new group of charity diabetes ‘champions’

Helen Atkins

They will be supported by Diabetes UK with two years of training alongside their clinical work, to help them “identify improvements and drive vital change” in diabetes services in their local areas.

Speaking on her appointment, Ms Atkins said: “I am really pleased to be appointed as a Diabetes UK clinical champion.

“I aim to focus on inpatient care for people with diabetes within the trust and ensuring that high quality care is delivered,” she said. “My main area of focus with be within the emergency department, to ensure that care delivered in this challenging setting is timely, safe and appropriate.

“My overall aim is to improve patient experience through collaborative working and developing creative solutions for complex issues within emergency care,” she added.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We know that investment in better diabetes care brings both human and economic benefits, by reducing the devastating and costly health complications that can develop as a result of the condition being poorly managed.

“That’s why our clinical champions are so important,” he said. “They play a critical role in leading improvements to the care people living with diabetes receive, and contribute enormously to our aim of creating a world where diabetes can do no harm.”

Adam Burt, director of market access and public affairs at Novo Nordisk UK, said: “These are inspiring individuals who wish to become advocates for change and quality improvement in diabetes services across the NHS.” 

List of new clinical champions:

  • Agnieszka Graja, diabetes specialist nurse, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Ani Kumar, lead Diabetes specialist nurse at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust
  • Helen Atkins, advanced nurse practitioner at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
  • Sian Bodman, senior diabetes nurse, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
  • Charles Odiase, advanced clinical and prescribing pharmacist at Reading Walk-In Centre
  • Clair Ranns, medicines optimisation pharmacist, NHS Leeds North CCG
  • Dr Cynthia Mohandas, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology, Darent Valley Hospital
  • Dr Elizabeth Uchegbu, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr James Boyle, consultant diabetologist, Glasgow Royal Infirmary
  • Dr Koteshwara Muralidhara, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology at Central Middlesex Hospital
  • Dr Philip Johnston, consultant in diabetes and endocrinology, Belfast Trust, Royal Victoria Hospital and Belfast City Hospital
  • Dr Sarinda Millar, consultant paediatrician at Southern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Dr Christopher Bidder, consultant paediatrician and clinical lead for the Children & Young people’s Wales diabetes network
  • Daina Walton, podiatrist at King’s College Hospital
  • Fiona Main, diabetes specialist podiatrist at NHS Highland
  • Jennifer Madden, advanced podiatrist in elderly care, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
  • Frances Hanson, children’s diabetes dietitian, Leeds Children’s Hospital
  • Sarah Woodman, service manager and specialist dietitian at West Hampshire Community Diabetes Service
  • Dr Tony Willis, clinical director for diabetes at NHS North West London Collaboration of CCGs
  • Dr Paul Howden, deputy chair and clinical lead for planned care and long-term conditions at NHS Fareham & Gosport CCG
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