Civic leaders support annual diabetes wellness event and share personal experiences.

The Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool, Councillor Brian Cowie, who has a son living with type 1 diabetes, attended a recent wellness day along with Mayoress Councillor Veronica Nicholson and Councillor Mike Young, to demonstrate the council’s support for the tenth anniversary of the annual event organised by DRWF.

Councillors posed for photographs in front of HMS Trincomalee at the historic dockyard of the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool with the DRWF team and other attendees of the Diabetes Wellness Day North held in Diabetes month on Saturday, 26th November.

DRWF staff and volunteers in Christmas hats
Lee and the Mayor in front of a ship

Councillor Cowie said: “My son is living with type 1 diabetes, so this event is very close to my heart, and the Mayoress and I were keen to be here to lend our support. It’s good to see so many local people coming along to learn more and hopefully improve their diabetes self-management skills.”

There was a 50% increase in registrations with over a hundred local people attending to learn more about living with diabetes. Due to Covid-19 this was the first time the charity had been able to host the event since 2019.

Lee Calladine, DRWF Event Coordinator, said: “It was so good to be back in Hartlepool for the first time since before the pandemic and to welcome delegates and friends old and new to the event to help them to learn more about managing their diabetes.

“We had an informative programme of talks supported by the regional diabetes specialist team, photos with Councillors Cowie, Nicholson and Young, a great variety of visiting experts in the exhibition area and a special celebration at the end of the day to mark the 10th anniversary of the Diabetes Wellness Day North, the 25th anniversary of the Hartlepool Diabetes Support Group run by Denice O’Rourke and Hayley Hakansson, a belated International World Diabetes Day and of course it was National Diabetes Month here in the UK.

“A great day was had by all, and everyone went home armed with more tools, information, and knowledge on how to better manage their diabetes.”


Dr Susan Jones, Consultant Physician in Diabetes and Clinical Lead for Endocrinology at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust was instrumental in helping DRWF establish the first Diabetes Wellness Day North 10 years ago and was the very first speaker to feature at that event.

Dr Susan Jones

Dr Jones went on to support the event many times over the following years. In this 10th year she discussed the important topic of the causes, dangers, and management of hypoglycaemia (low blood-glucose levels) and hyperglycaemia (high blood-glucose levels), followed by a second session on diabetes and the kidneys, looking at how important the function of the kidneys is and how diabetes can affect them. She also explained the impact of good diabetes management on kidney health and how different medications and diet choices can play a part.

Dr Jones said: “I am so pleased to have been able to support this 10th anniversary event by DRWF. Education is at the root of everything at the diabetes wellness events and recent research has shown just how important good self-management and an understanding of the condition is.”

Anna Lumsdon, Lead Diabetes Specialist at Dietitian North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust looked at the challenges people with diabetes face at this time of year when confronted with so many tempting and rich foods and the additional stress of navigating social occasions, parties, and the big day itself.

Julie Sinclair, Lead Diabetes Specialist Nurse at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust talked about planning ahead for holidays and travelling abroad, going through the airport process, boarding a cruise liner, or even catching a domestic flight in the UK. A topic that people don’t often think about but one that takes a lot of planning and thought, especially if you carry medications, needles, or wear technology like a glucose sensor or insulin pump.

The number of people living with diabetes prescribed medications by their GP has increased by almost 5% in 2021, figures from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) show. That is a 4.95% increase on the number of people receiving medicines for diabetes from the previous year – the largest increase since 2021.

The figures show that more men than women are receiving drugs to treat diabetes and those in deprived areas like Hartlepool are more affected by the increasing trends. In deprived areas GP practices, there were two and a half times as many people living with diabetes receiving prescriptions compared to the least deprived areas.

However, a government funded study into the Type 2 Prevention Scheme found there had been a 7% reduction in the number of new diabetes diagnoses between 2018 and 2019.

The National Diabetes Prevention Programme scheme offers a nine-to-12-month NHS programme which offers education on diet, physical exercise, and advice on weight loss through healthy eating. A total of 89,604 people has completed the programme so far losing an average of 2kg each.

The DRWF team are already looking forward to and planning their programme of educational events and activities for 2023 to coincide with the charity’s 25th anniversary year.

For more information about the DRWF education programme visit here

Find out more about type 1 diabetes

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