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education as well as dangerously inadequate specialist knowledge among healthcare professionals. Basic errors in medication, mistakes and misdiagnosis are all too common occurrences for people with diabetes, and the latest figures from the Diabetes UK State of the Nation report 2016 are alarming: of all deaths from diabetes, 80% are avoidable; diabetes is now the major cause of blindness in working age people; 80% of limb amputations are 100% preventable. Completing the picture, healthcare

professionals are demoralised and exhausted from the daily frustration of not being able to meet patients’ needs and deliver adequate levels of care while also cutting costs. Furthermore, the ability for diabetes specialists to address the problems, to work outside their silo and role or even to build an understanding of the challenges across the diabetes pathway is non-existent given the pressures, hierarchical nature and fragmented organisational structure of the NHS.

The programme

Te programme is a partnership between Diabetes UK and Ashridge Executive Education, in collaboration with the diabetes specialist pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk who

provide support and funding. Reflecting the reality that change

must come from within, the central concept of the programme is the creation of a new role of Diabetes UK clinical champion, into which frontline diabetes healthcare professionals from the NHS are recruited. Te programme is centred around

each champion owning the remit of making changes happen, led by a process which incites participants to identify failings in their locality, commit to evidence-based change initiatives, understand and work with underlying systemic challenges, and come together as a community to take on shared obstacles. Champions, who range from

nurses, dieticians, GPs, pharmacists, consultants and podiatrists, are supported in this mission through highly relevant learning and extremely hands-on practical involvement and resources. Te programme itself com- prises four 24-hour residential modules (limiting time away from work yet maximising the benefits of being together) plus action learning groups, within a two-year working process. Content priorities include

exploring what is really stopping change (rather than ‘change theory’), systemic hierarchy, authority and influencing,

and growing the knowledge and confidence to lead change. Te first module begins the work of scoping the failings/problems to be addressed, developing skills/ understanding and building a network. Module two addresses the specific

challenges of reaching out to complex communities, using patients and engaging local communities in change. Module three includes important

technical aspects such as communicat- ing business plans effectively and stake- holder mapping, but also draws in ‘big players’ from within the NHS, national government and industry to share insights on leadership and resilience at this crucial stage in leading change. Te last module looks at increasing

personal impact and profile-raising, as well as exploring topics such as managing negativity, saying “no” and celebrating successes. However, all involved are driven

by the same underlying belief: “what happens outside the programme is why we’re all here”. As champions begin to address problems, hands-on involvement and support from Diabetes UK, Ashridge and Novo Nordisk is a crucial element and ensures that all involved can “make changes faster”. Teir support ranges from practical resources and help to the provision of data, research findings, legislative

26 | September 2017 |


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