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Diabetes UK Clinical Champions wins international award


An innovative change programme created by Diabetes UK and Ashridge Executive Education, in collaboration with Novo Nordisk who are providing support and funding, has been awarded the prestigious EFMD Excellence in Practice Gold award.The Diabetes UK Clinical Champions programmeempowers health professionals in the NHS to tackle failings and complex challenges in diabetes healthcare.

Seeing off tough competition from around the globe, the award recognises the outstanding impact that Diabetes UK Clinical Champions are having, through the initiative, on the lives of thousands of people living with diabetes.

The innovative project has addressed multiple complex healthcare challenges and risks without adding any extra strain on the system or single penny to the healthcare budget.

Amy Rylance, Head of Healthcare Professional Engagement at Diabetes UK, said:"The Diabetes UK Clinical Champions initiative began with the desire to make real improvements for people living with diabetes – an ambition which, given the many stark realities in healthcare, seemed almost impossible at the time."

The directly-correlated change evidenced includes:

  • improving inpatient safety
  • reducing variability in the quality of care
  • empowering/enabling patients to control their diabetes
  • preventing serious complications
  • ensuring diabetes is kept high on the health agenda and politically

The initiative sees diabetes nurses, doctors, clinicians, consultants and dieticians brought together for the first time and, regardless of formal position, given the authority, leadership development and practical hands-on support (not just rhetoric) to make change happen. The title of Clinical Champion and acquired association with Diabetes UK has opened doors, given clinicians 'permission' to action changes on behalf of their patients and enabled direct engagement with policy decision-makers in the NHS and UK government.

One of the success factors is the partnership between Diabetes UK, Novo Nordisk, Ashridge and NHS diabetes specialists.

Guy Lubitsh, Client Director, Ashridge Executive Education, explains: "Many organizations cannot rely solely on themselves or their own resources to do everything, so creative partnerships such as this are needed for highly complex problems. By combining resources, skills and experience the partnership has expanded the thinking and found practical, hidden and unexpected solutions. In this sense, the initiative is both a sign of the times and forward looking."

On the impact Amy Rylance expands: "Diabetes healthcare professionals no longer approach CEOs with more problems; they are leaders with ideas and solutions – concrete plans for making change happen. With the NHS so stretched this is a great way forward. At last, the seemingly impossible task of addressing the complex challenges of diabetes has become an achievable reality."

Commenting on the gold award, Chris Askew, Chief Executive Diabetes UK, said: "For all involved in this initiative there is the sense of being part of something bigger. A movement. Fighting for diabetes healthcare, addressing underlying challenges and raising awareness of the condition. This accolade helps us enormously with these ambitions and recognises the hard work of so many of our unsung healthcare heroes. Thank you to everyone. I am so incredibly proud."

Speaking on behalf of EFMD, Senior Adviser Jan Ginneberge, commented: "This initiative supports participants to maximise their own return-on-efforts and be true champions for the cause well beyond their own direct working environment, including impacting national policy."

Adam Burt, Director Market Access and Public Affairs, Novo Nordisk UK, said: "It is wonderful that EFMD have acknowledged the impact that our partnership and shared ambition is having on the lives of thousands of people living with diabetes."

*The annualEFMD Excellence in Practice Awardsrecognize excellence in management and leadership development, and are regarded as one of the most prestigious within the executive and organization development industry.

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