Championing individual care, by Dr Joan St John


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Joan-St-John-100x133Prescriptions, EPS, routine appointments, emergency clinics, walk-in clinics, results, telephone consultations, email queries, need I go on? These are all familiar activities to busy GPs in Primary Care. As specialists in ‘Generalism’, we pride ourselves in our ability to manage many different, varied and sometimes competing interests. Why then would you want to take on yet another role? (that of Diabetes UK Local Clinical Champion).

I think most of us have a few areas within in work that we particularly enjoy, or are good at. Diabetes, is an area in which I have always been and remain, passionate. Not least because there is so much scope for improvement! Not only in the way services are delivered or developed, but also on an individual basis. ‘Individualisation’ is not just a buzz word to me, I enjoy the interaction with people who live with this condition and the challenges that the interaction brings.

Being a Clinical Champion has been liberating, essentially the remit is to improve the quality of care for people living with diabetes. Naturally, the Clinical Champions have launched individual projects to suit the areas in which they work. So, if your area needs a Diabetes network, you may choose to do that, or alternatively, you might choose to focus specifically on patients.

At its best being a Champion can mean facilitating cohesion in a fragmented service or provision. The role enables engagement across boundaries, be they geographical or imposed through a provider, commissioner split. It is an energising experience and it is hard work but Diabetes UK provide excellent support.

Champions take many different forms and guises. You don’t have to be a ubiquitous leader or a super, do-it- all, healthcare professional. I recently saw a quote attributed to Christopher Morcom, “Sometimes it is the very people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine”.

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