A Bexley woman has been awarded an MBE for services to people with diabetes and their carers.Sheila Burston, from Clarence Road, Sidcup, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 41 years ago and has volunteered her time to work with charity Diabetes UK for many years. She has been actively involved in influencing the care of people living with diabetes in Bexley, South East LondonAs a Service Champion for the charity, Sheila played a key role in trying to maintain services and stop service changes that would have been damaging to people in Bexley living with Type 1 diabetes. Last year she attended meetings with the local NHS, including the Diabetes Lead GP, to campaign for people with diabetes to have access to specialist care when they needed it, in the face of proposed changes which would have seen people with the condition moved to primary care.Earlier this year Sheila’s work was recognised by Diabetes UK, who honoured her with their prestigious regional Raise Your Voice Inspire Award.Sheila also co-founded and works closely with the committee of the Bexley Diabetes UK Voluntary Group. The group has over 800 members and views are sought via the group's newsletter and at meetings. For many years Sheila was the secretary of the group. Sheila also sits on the Bexley Patients Council and a number of groups, committees and panels which all aim to ensure people with diabetes get the best care to manage their condition.Sheila said: “I’m delighted to receive this honour which I will be so pleased to accept on behalf of all Diabetes UK volunteers. I am passionate about diabetes. Diabetic foot care and eye care are my main interests as well as research. I’ve worked closely with Diabetes UK for the past 14 years and through that connection I’ve met so many inspiring people, including consultants and researchers, who are dedicated to finding ways to defeat diabetes and also enable people with diabetes to enjoy long and healthy lives. I find that gives me a real motivation to go on with my work. I really enjoy what I do and I have made many friends in the process. “I think to really look after yourself well with this complex condition you have to have a good understanding of it. I’ve always been motivated to discover more about it.”Roz Rosenblatt, Diabetes UK’s London regional manager said: “We are delighted that Sheila’s hard work for people with diabetes has been recognised. Sheila is a true champion when it comes to making sure that everyone with diabetes in her area gets the care and support they are entitled to. Diabetes is a serious condition that needs good quality care and Sheila is an amazing advocate for people with diabetes and someone that local decision makers respect and listen to.”
Just some of Sheila's volunteering:
* A lay representative on the NICE Diabetic Foot Problems Guidelines update group
* A patient reference group member of the Institute for Diabetes in Older People (IDOP).
* Member of Diabetes UK’s Council for People with Diabetes
* Member of the National Diabetic Eye Screening Research Committee, the committee for the National Institute for Health Research (diabetes) and the Diabetes UK Grants Advisory Panel, which considers research applications.