Advances in understanding of the management of diabetes has set new challenges for those affected, as well as for their professional advisers. The traditional model of hospital-based services is being gradually replaced by systems increasingly focused on the person with diabetes supported by their primary care organisations.
Unfortunately, funding for this shifting pattern of care has been slow to follow. There are still concerns that competition for state and private financing between specialist and generalist services will undermine efforts to stem the impact of diabetes and its complications.
For many of you diabetes will become an increasingly important part of your professional life. The emergence of evidence-based surrogate endpoints, including targets for HbA1c and blood pressure, sets clear challenges for patients and professionals alike. The rising prevalence and complexity of diabetes will place increasing demands on the skills of both secondary and primary care workforces working within a multiprofessional context.
Cooperative ventures between primary and secondary care
It is therefore up to all of us in primary care to encourage our secondary care colleagues to look to cooperative ventures in the future. There are already many successful initiatives throughout Europe.
Did you know, for example, that there is a European organisation interested in promoting the status of primary care? Originally formed in the early 1990s as part of the St Vincent Declaration movement, the group goes by the catchy name: St Vincent’s Declaration Primary Care Diabetes Group (SVDPCDG).
Promoting the status and position of primary care diabetes
SVDPCDG is highly organised and recognised as one of the most successful of the SVD groups. Membership is open to anyone working in primary care diabetes. The executive body consists of clinicians from several of the major European countries and is committed to promoting the status and position of primary care diabetes in the eyes of the public as well as the specialist professions.
Membership is modest at 40 Euros per annum (under £30). This entitles you to receive a quarterly newsletter as well as updates on, and priority registration for, European conferences, reduced rates for FENDCUP training courses for nurses and opportunities to participate in multi-national research.
Conference venues have included Lisbon, Brussels, Istanbul and Prague; our next two-day event will be held in Stockholm on 10–12 May 2002 when we will be looking at the challenges for primary care in Managing the Diabetes Epidemic.
There is a strong emphasis on practice-based research and we invite readers of Diabetes and Primary Care to submit abstracts to our scientific committee. As attending delegates you will have the opportunity to meet health professionals from a wide range of other countries. It is opportunities like this that give you real insight into the issues facing others.
If you are ‘fired up’ by diabetes, then consider joining our organisation and help it develop even further. And if you are seeking adventure and new experiences, join us in Stockholm in May 2002. Who knows how your life might change? If it is your first international conference, I am certain it will not be your last. We are expecting over 300 delegates and with a UK chairman and Irish vice-chairman we would particularly like to see a strong contingent from northern Europe.