House of Lords
Lord Roberts of Llandudno (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what schemes are in place to make the public aware of (1) the symptoms associated with diabetes sufferers, and (2) the best ways to assist sufferers in emergencies.
Earl Howe (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Quality), Health; Conservative)
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that structured education about diabetes and treatment of diabetes emergencies should be offered to carers as well as patients. Education is usually made available through local health services diabetes education programmes. There are a number of national and locally developed patient education programmes including structured courses such as DAFNE for Type 1 diabetes (dose adjustment for normal eating), and DESMOND for Type 2 diabetes (diabetes education and self management for ongoing and newly diagnosed), plus a range of tools and guidance to help local services choose the best programmes to meet the needs of their local population.
Health communities and charities have also developed a number of regional and minority community schemes to improve awareness about diabetes, particularly targeting those at increased risk. Examples of good practice include:
the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for North West London supported an initiative to raise awareness of diabetes prevention strategies and signpost those with diabetes to appropriate services. Diabetes Service Users Groups in Hammersmith and Fulham and Harrow worked to identify over 20 diabetes champions reflecting the makeup of the local community target key groups who were trained to raise awareness about diabetes in their local community and localities with a range of engagement techniques; for example, coffee mornings and informal talks. They worked with those who traditionally have poor access to health messages to share key health messages-for example, refugee-to bring about increased knowledge and awareness and appropriate behaviour changes. Sessions were run in community languages; for example, Somali and Arabic. Over 18 months, more than 3,000 people were reached at more than 150 events. Evaluation showed real changes in knowledge of risk factors and change in physical activity;since 2008, Leicester primary care trust has employed Gypsy and Traveller community members on a sessional basis to act as health ambassadors between the National Health Service and local communities. Over 30 health ambassadors, who are all volunteers, have attended training sessions alongside health professionals. The ambassadors have helped health professionals locally to understand the culture and needs of Gypsy and Traveller communities, suggested new ways of increasing awareness in their own communities, and take key health messages back to their own communities;Diabetes UK, in association with Travellers' Times and the Rural Media company, have produced an audio CD and an accompanying illustrated booklet, Don't leave it too late, to raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of acting early to reduce the risk of developing complications for the Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities. The seven audio files and booklet can be downloaded from DiabetesUK website: www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Introduction-to-diabetes/Diabetes---A-guide-for-Gypsies-Roma-and-Travellers/ or a CD can be ordered from DiabetesUK;the South Asian Health Foundation educates South Asian communities across the nation about diabetes; andSilver STAR (Screen Those At Risk), a Leicester-based charity that raises awareness about diabetes and performs diabetes screening, targets high risk groups in the city that are hard to reach, including its South Asian community.