Paul Dawson, Diabetes Voice from Nottingham
Paul Dawson, a Diabetes Voice from Nottingham has met with his MP to discuss diabetes care in the area where he lives. Here he tells us about how he got involved in campaigning with Diabetes UK.
Why did you decide to join Diabetes Voices?
I became a lifetime member of Diabetes UK 30 years ago (the BDA in those days!) and actively supported their research and education ever since. I am part of the Nottingham Type 1 Diabetes Support Group and Diabetes Voices was mentioned at one of our meetings, when we were encouraged to make contact with our local MP to discuss the welfare and improvement of care for people with diabetes. I got in touch with Diabetes Voices and was sent an MP Lobby Pack. This helped inspire me to approach my MP and raise some issues which concern us.
How did you get involved in campaigning with Diabetes UK?
I took the advice of Diabetes Voices and wrote to my local MP who just happens to be the Health Minister with special responsibility for diabetes! I was lucky enough to be given a slot at her next Constituent Surgery a couple of weeks later. I prepared carefully for this meeting and took with me a letter containing the things I wanted to discuss with Ms Soubry. By leaving her a copy, I knew that a simple record of our concerns was kept by her. The meeting went well and Ms Soubry was interested, knowledgeable and sympathetic to our cause and was keen to learn rather more ‘from the horse’s mouth’! It gave me great pleasure when several of things we discussed came up in the Diabetes Debate at the House of Commons on January 9th. She has written to me twice and will, I hope, give me chance to talk with her again in the ‘not too distant future.
What will you be doing to continue supporting Diabetes UK’s campaign?
My contact with the Health Minister Anna Soubry has raised the profile of Diabetes UK. It was good to hear how highly she thought of our efforts! I suspect that there will be more contacts to come from here. I was recently asked to attend a meeting at Nottingham City Hospital to review Health Care for Diabetes. This was really interesting and those of us with Type 1 Diabetes were able to explain the good points and areas we regarded as ‘in need of improvement’. It is all about getting acceptance of good practice rather than being negative all the time.
What advice would you give to other people who want to get involved?
It is so much easier to campaign when you are not ‘on your own’. Diabetes UK and Diabetes Voices will put you in touch with likeminded people who can channel your enthusiasm. These days we have to be persistent if you want to taken seriously. This is why the more people that are involved the better. What do we personally get out of it? Well, surprisingly you get a real buzz from doing something you believe in and this adds some spice to your life!
If you would like to campaign for better diabetes care sign up to Diabetes Voices. We’ll let you know about all of the ways you can take action to support our campaigns. Sign up here.