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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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Neil Collins

NHS Service User Representative

How did you get involved with your local NHS?

I needed to use a variety of NHS services and it has has given me the motivation to become involved as a service user representative. I also worked with the NHS in a volunteer role in the Patient Public Involvement Forum.

What’s involved in being a service user representative?

The role involves attending meetings and reading a lot of information beforehand. I talk to other service users and represent their views where relevant. I have also participated in working groups that have produced reports which have helped local services.

How have you made a difference to local diabetes services?

I regularly raise important issues with the NHS, such as access to emotional and psychological therapy for people with diabetes. I have also given feedback on NHS leaflets to help make them more user-friendly for patients.

What do you enjoy most about being a patient representative?

I enjoy having the opportunity to find out about local services by attending meetings and networking with other people. I also enjoy being able to make a difference by helping to improve the healthcare that people receive.

What advice would you give to other people who want to get involved?

I would encourage people to get involved as it’s a very worthwhile cause and it will help you improve the services you use. As a Diabetes Voices member you will get plenty of support from Diabetes UK to help you make the most of the role.

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