Over 150 delegates from all parts of Ireland gathered in the Sheraton Hotel in Athlone. The weather was most pleasant and delegates’ spirits where immediately lifted further when Velma Harkins, the GP Lead for the Diabetes Structured Care Programme in Ireland (pictured below), announced important changes to the way diabetes care would be delivered in the Republic of Ireland, with much more emphasis on the role of primary care.
A detailed presentation followed from Maeve Durkan, Consultant Physician at Portiuncula Hospital (pictured below), on a proactive approach to addressing cardiovascular challenges in diabetes, with an emphasis on carefully considering risk.
Delegates then divided between three workshops: Kathryn Ryan, Consultant Clinical Biochemist at the Mater Hospital, Belfast, outlined how to make sense of abnormal blood results; Jill Cundell, Lecturer Practitioner in Podiatry at the University of Ulster, presented an interactive session on urgent podiatry presentations in people with diabetes, and Noreen Lineen-Curtis presented a workshop on proactive diabetes care on Achill Island, where she works as a GP.
Before the evening symposium dinner Professor Peter Passmore, Consultant Geriatrician in the Belfast City Hospital, gave a light-hearted but thought-provoking presentation on the limits of diabetes care in later life.
The next morning, delegates began with two different but useful presentations. Brid Farrell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, outlined her progress with the Cooperation and Working Together project (CAWT) in relation to diabetes in both sides of the border in Ireland. Professor Brendan Buckley, Honorary Clinical Professor in Pharmacology at the University College Cork, then followed with a stimulating presentation on the abnormal lipid profile of a person with diabetes and how to address it.
The delegates then broke into three workshops that addressed: when to use an insulin pump, presented by Patricia Keenan (Clinical Nurse Specialist at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin) patient education by Rita Forde (Advanced Nurse Practitioner – Diabetes, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin) and Ray O’Connor (GP, Limerick), who outlined his approach to local diabetes care.
The meeting was drawn to a close with an overall reflection on the need for primary diabetes care in Ireland. Enthusiastic thanks were expressed to Jane Bishop and her team for organising the event as well as the support of all the pharmaceutical sponsors.