National diabetes prize awarded for encouraging patients to continue to inject their own insulin while in hospital.

A scheme introduced by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust designed to help more patients with diabetes continue to inject their own insulin while in hospital, has been awarded the Rowan Hillson Insulin Safety Award.

The hospital’s support of insulin-treated patients to continue to have safe access to their insulin at all stages of their hospital care unless there was a specific reason for them not to was hailed for improving the timing of doses and giving better glucose control.

As a condition dealt with differently from case to case it is believed that many people with diabetes have the best expertise when it comes to managing their own condition, routinely monitoring and adjusting their insulin doses at home.

However, in a hospital environment this is a complex process and involves ensuring there are robust processes in place to safeguard patients.

Working with the diabetes team, the pharmacy team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation created a dedicated diabetes pharmacist role to support insulin safety in hospital, including the national agenda to enable people with diabetes who use insulin to have safe access to their medication.

Sallianne Kavanagh MRPharmS IP, MSc Clinical Pharmacy, lead pharmacist for Sheffield Teaching Hospital’s diabetes and endocrinology teams, said: “We are delighted to have been named joint winners of this prestigious award. Diabetes is a lifelong condition, and people are taught to monitor their glucose and adjust their insulin doses on an ongoing basis. Continuing to do this in a hospital environment has been highlighted as best practice in national guidelines and through this pharmacy-led project we have been able to support this as much as possible and when there isn’t a specific reason not to.

“Our pharmacy and diabetes team have a really good relationship, so this is great recognition of the work we are doing and the difference teamwork can make to patient care.”

The awards are named after Dr Rowan Hillson, who is internationally renowned for her work with people who have diabetes, and are run by the Joint Diabetes Societies for Inpatient Care, one of the UK’s leading diabetes societies.

Dr Hillson said: “I would like to thank everyone who submitted entries and all those who developed and participated in the projects across the country. There is no doubt that the work done by these teams and all their colleagues in their local hospitals is driving improvement in the care of people with diabetes and for patients who are given insulin to lower unduly high potassium levels. There is much to commend and a great deal of expertise and enthusiasm to share nationwide.”

The submissions were judged by an independent panel chaired by Dr Hillson and the team was presented with their award at the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists’ meeting in Belfast recently.

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