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Campaigning in Northern Ireland

Diabetes UK Northern Ireland works with local politicians, Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and the Assembly structures to campaign for better services for people with diabetes.

Northern Ireland Assembly

All Party Group on Diabetes

The All Party Group (APG) was reconstituted in 2021 and we are looking forward to continuing to work with MLAs from all parties to help raise awareness about diabetes in Northern Ireland. Thanks to our MLAs who continue to show their support for people living with diabetes and for keeping diabetes care a priority.

We would like to thank MLAs who were members of the APG in 2021 and welcome the new members for the current mandate. All MLAs are most welcome to our events and meetings so please do ask your local MLA to get in touch with us.

The MLAs on the APG are:

  • Chair - Stewart Dickson MLA
  • Deputy Chair - Deborah Erskine MLA
  • Kellie Armstrong MLA
  • Pam Cameron MLA
  • Danny Donnelly MLA
  • Mark Durkan MLA
  • Sorcha Eastwood MLA
  • Harry Harvey MLA
  • Colin McGrath MLA
  • Dr Patricia O'Lynn MLA

World Diabetes Day 2022

On Tuesday 15 November we held an All-Party Group on diabetes to mark World Diabetes Day and provide an update of Diabetes UK's activities throughout the week. We were delighted to have our Chief Executive, Chris Askew join us and meet with MLAs.

At the meeting we discussed a range of topics including the exciting new ELSA project, screening for type 1 diabetes in 3–13-year-olds, an update on access to appointments, our work on the menopause, plans for more Live Well Hubs, as well as raising awareness about the 4Ts.

Thank you to the MLAs who attended today and for sharing our 4Ts campaign on social media. Pictured below, Deborah Erskine MLA (Vice Chair), Stewart Dickson MLA (Chair), Chris Askew and Tina McCrossan, at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

Deborah Erskine, Stewart Dickson, Chris Askew and Tina McCrossan at Stormont, holding the 4Ts poster with symptoms; Toilet, Thirsty, Tired, Thinner

Diabetes Week 2022

Following the elections, we used Diabetes Week to meet with newly elected MLAs to brief them on the issues and priorities needed for diabetes in Northern Ireland. This was followed by a round-table discussion with the Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, and key political party spokespeople. We were also delighted to be joined by the Chair of the Diabetes UK Board of Trustees, Dr Carol Homden, and also our NI Trustee, Michael Gibbs.

For more photos from the events, and to see if your MLA attended, head to our Facebook page to check out the photo album. It was a great event with productive discussions and clear actions that were highlighted in our manifesto. Thank you to the Health Minister for meeting with us and answering our questions, and for all the MLAs who engaged with us and submitted questions to the Department of Health on a range of diabetes-related issues.

We invite you to contact your local MLA and ask them to meet with us so we can keep diabetes a priority.

Elections: May 2022

We have produced a manifesto based on the key asks in our Diabetes is Serious report and have shared it with political representatives and colleagues in the voluntary and charity sector. 

What we are calling for: 

  • Prioritising catching up on the significant backlog of diabetes appointments caused by the coronavirus pandemic to avoid the serious consequences of missed appointments, checks, treatment, and delayed diagnoses
  • A systematic and robust method of auditing of diabetes in Northern Ireland and the infrastructure needed to support it, like the National Diabetes Audit in England and Wales
  • Recurrent and sustainable investment in the Diabetes Prevention Programme as a key means to support people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to make changes to their health and behaviour so fewer people develop the condition each year
  • Implementation of commitments within the Mental Health Strategy to ensure that mental health interventions for people with long-term conditions like diabetes are available to those who need it
  • A plan to increase uptake of diabetes technology to everyone who can benefit from it, regardless of diabetes type
  • The development of a comprehensive workforce strategy to address service gaps which are currently adversely affecting care of people with diabetes

If you are interested join our Diabetes is serious campaign and have your say.

Diabetes is Serious

We launched our Diabetes is Serious report for Northern Ireland in November 2021 and were delighted to welcome over a third of all MLAs to our event held at Stormont. This was the first face to face event at Stormont since the beginning of the pandemic, so it was great to meet with MLAs and talk about diabetes.

There was a keen interest from those who attended as we discussed the issues that had been raised in our local survey. We would like to thank those who attended the event and also to those MLAs who continue to engage with us and ask the Department of Health key questions inspired by our report.

Among those who attended included: Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, First Minister Paul Givan MLA, Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, Health Committee Chair, Colm Gildernew MLA and the Health Committee Deputy Chair, Pam Cameron MLA.

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