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Press release
Thursday 04 November 2021

UHS clinicians record multiple wins at national diabetes awards

Clinicians from University Hospital Southampton (UHS) have been recognised nationally for their pioneering work for diabetes patients.

The team, led by Philip Newland-Jones, clinical director and consultant pharmacist in diabetes and endocrinology at UHS, and Dr Mayank Patel, diabetes consultant at UHS, were named winners in four categories at this year’s Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes Awards.

QiC, together with biopharmaceutical company Sanofi, hosted the awards ceremony to recognise initiatives that improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes – the annual awards are judged NHS peers, patients and industry professionals.

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. Almost four million people in the UK have been diagnosed with the condition with the UHS diabetes team supporting around 4000 people with diabetes every year.

Mr Newland-Jones – who is also the first consultant pharmacist in the UK to become a clinical lead – was presented with the prestigious UK Diabetes Healthcare Professional of the Year Award which recognises his work in raising standards of care for diabetes patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This included introducing a seven-day clinical inpatient diabetes service during the second wave of the pandemic, to ensure continuity of care and to avoid backlogs and reduce risk to patients. It also involved supporting the education of primary care colleagues nationally in the management of diabetes and COVID-19, to try to reduce the risk of hospitalisation in those with diabetes.

His collaborative work with the Diabetes 101 project was recognised in a further two categories which saw it win both the Diabetes Collaborative Project of Year and Unsung Hero award.

Diabetes 101 is a novel diabetes service set up on Twitter in March 2020 in response to the pandemic and first national UK lockdown.

Run by a voluntary team of 19 healthcare professionals across a range of specialities, it aims to deliver reliable information and support for people living with the condition via social media using infographics and engaging posts in a bid to keep patients safe and out of hospital.

The Twitter account now has more than 6,500 followers and a supporting website was developed in January this year for patients to access further content.

Mr Newland-Jones and Dr Patel were also presented with this year’s Judges’ Special Award for their work as part of the National Diabetes Covid-19 Response Group, a small group of those with significant expertise in inpatient diabetes from across the UK.

The group was set up in March 2020 following information that people with diabetes and Covid-19 infection had poorer outcomes and that the infection may trigger new onset diabetes.

Its purpose was to maintain consistent support for people with diabetes and provide Covid-specific guidance for specialists and non-specialists across UK hospitals and beyond.

Experts in diabetes, pharmacy and psychology, from across the UK met weekly to rapidly create a series of pragmatic guidance documents which have since been used internationally in the management of those with diabetes and the Covid-19 infection.

“This has been an unprecedented time for healthcare across the globe and all patient groups, including those with diabetes, have felt vulnerable as a result of the pandemic,” said Mr Newland-Jones.

“As the first pharmacist to be recognised as diabetes healthcare professional of the year, it really does show the potential role pharmacists can have in supporting people with diabetes and I feel we should support more pharmacists specialising in diabetes nationally.”

“I am absolutely delighted to receive these awards, particularly for the work during the pandemic, which I share with my amazing colleagues – this was definitely a group effort and our team at University Hospital Southampton are first-class at what they do.”

He added: “Recognition is always important and I feel very fortunate to work in a forward thinking organisation that allows us to innovate, develop and implement new ways of working for the benefit of the service and patients.”

Dr Patel said: “What an honour to win in so many categories at this year’s QiC Awards. This really does pin Southampton on the map as a leading global voice in diabetes medicine and we are extremely lucky to have so many experts in one place which enables us to provide the very best care for our patients.”