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Plaudits for OUH paediatric diabetes team

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Members of the OUH Paediatric Diabetes team have received national recognition for their work.

Karen Ross, who runs the Diabetes Education Programme, was named the Outstanding Educator in Diabetes at the prestigious Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes awards. The award was based on a public online vote.

Karen was not able to attend the QiC ceremony and her award was collected by three members of the OUH Paediatric Diabetes Service (pictured): Dietitian Anne-Marie Frohock and Consultants Taffy Makaya and Alistair Lumb.

The three are key members of OUH’s Diabetes Sports Clinic, which was commended at the awards ceremony, having been shortlisted in the Team Initiative of the Year category.

"I was chuffed to bits to win," Karen said. "Initially, I was taken aback just to be nominated. It's obviously very special when your team nominates you for an award like this - and to find that patients and colleagues voted for me, made it even more special."

The Diabetes Education Programme focuses on educating and empowering families living with type 1 diabetes. The service supports around 350 children and their families each year.

Karen, who joined the diabetes team as a Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Dietitian in 1993, won her award shortly after returning from the service's annual trip with children to the Calshott Activity Centre, near Southampton.

The trip provides young children with the first opportunity to go away without parents and learn to manage their diabetes independently; and older children a chance to develop peer support and try out new activities.

The Diabetes Sports Clinic was created after a pilot in 2014. Run by a multidisciplinary team, it offers expert advice to young people with type 1 diabetes who play sport at a high level, and works with them on a personalised care summary offering advice on exercise, diet and managing insulin doses. This approach affords them more independence to manage the challenges they face.

In their comments, the QiC Diabetes judges said: "This is an amazing, much-needed service and a great example of taking an innovative idea and replicating it in a local area. 

"The involvement of the service users in the later stages was brilliant - especially the use of existing social media platforms to capture feedback from the younger demographic. While elite-focused, the judges felt it was a patient-centric initiative that offers vital encouragement for children with type 1 diabetes."

There has been a 73 percent reduction in hypos among young people attending the clinics, and families now have greater confidence to support their children in taking part in high-level sport.

So far, 18 families have benefited from the service. Such has been its success that the team are looking to expand it to the wider Thames Valley region.