Omagh pharmacist selected as a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion

A PHARMACIST from Omagh has been selected as a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion, to help transform care for people living with diabetes across Northern Ireland.

Laura O’Donnell, a specialist diabetes pharmacist at Altnagelvin Hospital was chosen for her passion, and commitment to excellence in diabetes care. She is one of twenty UK healthcare professionals, including consultants, nurses, GPs, dietitians, podiatrists, pharmacists, and psychologists to be appointed as Diabetes UK clinical champions this year.

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. There are 105,000 people living with diabetes in Northern Ireland. If not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications such as sight loss, amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

Diabetes care can vary widely in different regions, and many people have, and continue to struggle to access the vital services they need to manage their condition well. We know that these struggles have only been amplified by the pandemic, which has already disproportionately affected people with diabetes. As a clinical champion, Laura will join a two-year leadership development programme, supported by Diabetes UK. Through her training, she will identify areas in need of improvement and drive vital changes to the diabetes services that people in Northern Ireland receive, at a critical time for people with diabetes.

Laura said; “I’m delighted to have been selected as one of the Diabetes UK Clinical Champions this year.

“I hope I can use this opportunity to further develop the role of the clinical pharmacist as an essential member of the team providing care to people living with diabetes.

“My aim is to work across traditional boundaries to drive improvements for people with diabetes in our hospitals, through developing safer systems, and putting into practice the best available evidence for medicines.”

Tina McCrossan, National Director Diabetes UK NI, said; “Investing in training and upskilling healthcare professionals can help reduce the number of serious diabetes-related complications, and in turn the devastating personal – and economic – costs they bring.

“Clinical champions like Laura play a critical role in improving the treatment and support people with diabetes receive so that they can lead long and healthy lives.”

The award-winning Clinical Champions programme provides leadership development to healthcare professionals, enabling them to improve diabetes care and bring innovative solutions to local problems. There are now 125 champions across the UK who have access to a network of like-minded clinicians with whom they can share expertise, experience, and best practice.

If you are interested in becoming a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion for the 2021-2023 intake please contact clinicalchampions@diabetes.org.uk. This is a Diabetes UK project in collaboration with Novo Nordisk who are providing support and funding.

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