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Diabetes in Northern Ireland

Views sought on hospital eye services

The Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) are urging those who have used a hospital eye care service in the past two years to share their experience through the 10,000 Voices programme to help shape how care is delivered in Northern Ireland.

Shape future healthcare services across Northern Ireland

10,000 Voices is a PHA initiative which gives people an opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences of accessing Health and Social Care services by asking them to ‘tell us their story’. Mary Hinds, Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at the PHA, said: “10,000 Voices aims to involve the public in shaping future healthcare services across Northern Ireland. The initiative acknowledges that patient and client contribution is fundamental to ensuring that services are commissioned to deliver better outcomes for patients, their families and carers. We want people to tell us about their experiences of health and social care and to highlight the things that were important to them. The information we receive will help us to direct how health and social care is shaped and delivered in Northern Ireland.”

10,000 Voices would like to hear your story

If you or someone you care for has had experience of hospital eye care services in the past two years – this may be any aspect of hospital eye services including attendance at an eye clinic, eye casualty or treatment as a day case or inpatient – then 10,000 Voices would like to hear your story.

Dr Jackie McCall, Consultant in Public Health at the PHA, said “Over the last few years we have been working in partnership with a range of stakeholders to improve the commissioning and provision of eyecare services.

The HSCB and PHA co-lead on the implementation of the strategy “Developing Eyecare Partnerships, Improving the Commissioning and Provision of Eyecare Services”, published by Department of Health in 2012.  It is important for us to learn from the experiences of service users and carers to understand how we can further improve services.“I encourage anyone who has experienced any hospital eye care services since July 2014 to get involved, tell their story and answer some brief questions about what they thought about the service and how it could be improved.”

Putting patients at the heart of shaping improvements in eyecare

Raymond Curran, Head of Ophthalmic Services at Health and Social Care Board also urged users and carers to share their experiences and help improve services and outcomes. He said: “The Board are pleased to be associated with this innovative and interactive method of improving eyecare services. We talk of “co-production”, but what we really mean is putting patients, users and carers at the heart of shaping improvements in eyecare, and 10,000 Voices represents a fabulous tool to do just that.”

You can tell your story by completing a survey


Speakers at the joint RNIB and Diabetes UK Northern Ireland 'Keep an eye on your diabetes' event (left to right): Prof Alan Stitt; Dean of Impact & Innovation, McCauley Chair of Experimental Ophthalmology, Raymond Curran; Head of Ophthalmic Services and Directorate of Integrated Care, Prof Tunde Peto; Clinical Professor School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Sara Carse; Diabetes UK NI National Care Advisor, Barry Herbison; Rehab Officer NHSCT


Keep an eye on your diabetes

November 2016 hosted the first joint conference organised by Diabetes UK Northern Ireland and RNIB NI for people living with diabetes and sight complications in the Mid Ulster area. Together, our aim was to reach out to a group of people who may not have had the opportunity to talk about diabetes-related eye complications nor had the opportunity to find out about the local suport groups in their area.

We were delighted with the turnout and the high calibre of speakers including Prof Alan Stitt and Raymond Curran - both leading experts in the diabetic eye.

We know so many people will benefit from this co-production and we are already planning more events like this for 2017 across all of Northern Ireland.

If you would like to find out more information about this, and our other events, then please contact our volunteering team.

Belfast school celebrates winning Good Diabetes Care in School Award




Rachel, who has Type 1 diabetes, is joined by her friends; Ellie, Eve, Aimee and Lucy, receiving the school’s award for Good Diabetes Care in School


Cairnshill Primary School has been awarded by Diabetes UK for their outstanding efforts in providing good diabetes care to any pupil living with Type 1 diabetes. Rachel Smith, a P.7. pupil, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was in P.4. and has since enjoyed the care and support from her classroom assistant and peers.

Cairnshill Primary School Principal, Mrs Anne Graham said, “Rachel is just like any other hard working, talented pupil and she continues to enjoy many after school activities and trips. When we learnt of Rachel’s diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes we were determined to provide the care and support that she might have needed and Rachel’s classroom assistant, Pamela Johnston, received excellent training in order to help Rachel manage her condition in school.

Along with our determination to provide the right setting for Rachel to help manage her condition we were also keen to ensure that she remained an active, participating pupil in all of our activities. Rachel has a great group of friends who also support her so we are delighted to share this award with all the pupils. We hope that this sends out a positive message to other schools that with good communication and an individual care plan, a lifelong condition such as Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have to be a stumbling block in a young person’s academic journey.”

Dr David Chaney, National Director at Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, who presented the award said: “Cairnshill Primary School was nominated and selected by an independent panel for their good diabetes care in school. We were so impressed with their care policy and emphasis on equality of opportunity, irrespective of a lifelong condition such as Type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a very serious condition which demands the knowledge and respect of managing it well. No pupil should have their school life experiences or academic opportunities curtailed by lack of support or understanding from their teachers so we are delighted to celebrate with Cairnshill Primary School who have set in place best practice and a model which could be replicated across other schools. We hope other schools will be encouraged to see the difference that good diabetes care can make on a pupil’s school life. Congratulations to Rachel, Mrs Johnston and Mrs Graham for all their hard work and for being the only school in Northern Ireland to win this award.”

Adele Smith, Rachel’s mother said, “When Rachel was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes we knew that all our lives would be impacted but it took such a weight off our shoulders to have Rachel’s school support us and Rachel as we learned to live with the condition. Good communication has been the key to success and we know that Rachel has the support within school to succeed and not be held back by her condition. It is fantastic that her classroom assistant, Pamela, is trained to help Rachel with her insulin pump when she needs it and acts as the conduit to keep us informed about Rachel during her school day. We nominated the school and are so pleased they have been recognised by winning the award.”

Diabetes in numbers

The number of people in Northern Ireland living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is now 100,000. This shocking number includes the estimated 12,000 who have not yet been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Prevalence in the Northern Ireland population is now over 5.7 per cent. If not properly managed and treated diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputation and kidney failure.

With adequate support and treatment, it is possible to lead a long and complication-free life with diabetes. Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is on hand to offer that support, along with your dedicated healthcare team. Contact our helpline on 0345 123 2399 if you would like to talk to someone. 

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