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Double awards success for virtual diabetes service

Friday, 29 October, 2021
Double awards success for virtual diabetes service

An online collaboration of healthcare professions to provide diabetes support during the Covid-19 lockdowns has landed two national awards.

Donna Edwards, a diabetes specialist nurse at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, is an active member of Team Diabetes 101, a virtual diabetes multi-disciplinary team, set up on Twitter in March 2020 in response to the first national Covid-19 lockdown.

The account, staffed voluntarily by 19 healthcare professionals, provided reliable information, stability and support to people living with diabetes, at a time when many were extremely anxious, misinformation was a problem, and capacity in specialist diabetes teams was overwhelmed.

The initiative triumphed in both the Collaborative Project of the Year and Unsung Hero Award categories at the 2021 Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes Awards that were held live and virtually on Thursday, October 14.

The Diabetes Collaborative Project of the Year award recognises the value of outstanding collaborative team achievements and contributions that help better prevent, diagnose or treat diabetes and support self-care management to improve the experience and outcomes for children, young people and emerging adults and adults with diabetes and/or their families/carers in response to the pandemic.

The Unsung Hero Award goes to an individual or team who the judges felt deserves recognition for really championing the work in their area or for a specific project.

The award judges said: “This was amazing work from Diabetes 101. They used social media in an innovative way and the infographics on data was amazing.

“The app gave those who were locked in the opportunity to access detailed information and get answers. The team did this outside of their day-to-day work and it is innovative, engaging and empowering.

“It is a fantastic example of cross-team working and genuinely kept people out of hospital. The fact that it was delivered in a less formal, chatty way made it engaging, nimble and with great reach.”

The account, @_diabetes101, now has more than 6,600 followers, with resources shared around the world. Additional ways of sharing have been successfully trialled and a website has been developed –

Donna said: “I’m delighted that Team Diabetes 101 has been recognised in this way, as those of us involved really feel that this made a difference to people living with diabetes during the lockdowns.

“The pandemic has brought a range of challenges for patients and healthcare staff, but this initiative has shown what can be done when we collaborate across disciplines and across the country using modern technology.”