‘How you can improve diabetes services’ and Diabetes Voices

Brenda Riley from Sheffield attended a ‘How you can improve diabetes services’ workshop in 2013. Since attending the training she has gone on to start planning her own local campaign and is actively promoting Diabetes Voices to others.

Why did you decide to join Diabetes Voices?
A friend at the Sheffield monthly meeting of Diabetes UK encouraged me to join Diabetes Voices as a route to becoming more active within Diabetes UK. She also told me about the training meeting at Durham which I subsequently applied for and attended.
I retired earlier this year and hence I have more time available. I felt that I wanted to use some of my time to ‘give something back’ to reflect the considerable help that I have been given with my own diabetes. This help has been from both health professionals and from Diabetes UK via their Sheffield group and their magazine ‘Balance’.

You recently attended an ‘Introduction to Diabetes Voices’ training session. How did you find this?
I found the Diabetes Voices training sessions very useful, particularly in explaining the new structures of the National Health Service (NHS) and how this relates to considering whom to contact. There were also several useful sessions on how to construct effective letters and emails, with standard templates for these.

How do you plan to do to campaign and/or influence for better diabetes care following the training you attended?
Since this training, I have investigated the Diabetes Voices website further to see what topics are already being reported and what campaigning has already been instigated. For example, I have found that the reluctance of some GPs to prescribe test strips is a regular complaint, although personally I have had excellent support from my health care specialists in this. Through joining Diabetes Voices, I am now aware that they are currently campaigning for a prescribing strategy based on individuals’ needs.
Currently, I am starting to campaign for restaurants and pubs to show carbohydrate values on their menus. At present, I am only at the research and pilot questionnaire stage. However, I feel that I can use Diabetes Voices as a resource to advise me about my communications and campaigning. In future, I may investigate and possibly campaign on matters of NHS administration efficiency and service provided – but I feel that I want to walk before I try to run.

What advice would you give to other people who want to get involved?
I would advise others who want to get involved to join Diabetes Voices. This involves no specific commitment and Diabetes Voices can provide so much help and support.

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.

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