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DSN Forum newsletter – July 2020

Tamsin Fletcher-Salt
DSN Forum newsletter for July 2020, with news on Diabetes UK’s Diabetes Week, health inequalities, NHS Pride and more.

Hello everyone! My name is Tamsin and I am the second of the new admin team members for the DSN Forum. I qualified in 2009 and began my nursing career in critical care. I became a adult DSN in 2014 and I have always worked in secondary care at the Royal Stoke University Hospital, providing diabetes support and education to the patients and staff wards. I also assist in the running of combined renal and pump clinics, and my interests include all technology in diabetes.

My passion for diabetes is a personal one, as I have lived with type 1 diabetes for over 41 years. I am very proud to have been asked to join the DSN Forum team and I am really excited about our ideas for the rest of the year.

What’s been happening in June?
We continue to live through the “new normal”, although there are some small signs of change as lockdown is slowly being lifted. We are now able to make a “bubble” with others, so this hopefully eases some of the loneliness for those people who have been unable to have close contact with family members. Non-essential shops opened on 15th June and the queues for Primark, etc., were pretty epic. Visitors are also being allowed back into the hospital setting as long as they are wearing personal protective equipment.

The DSN Forum has continued the fun theme with Tiktok, and we produced some short educational videos on the different forms of diabetes for Diabetes UK’s Diabetes Week, which ran from 8–14th June, painting #TheBigPicture of life with diabetes. The team would like to thank Amanda and Vicki again for their editorial skills. You can catch up with our exploits on social media or follow us on our Tiktok page. Keep your eyes peeled for further exciting videos from the team for Insulin Safety Week (on 6–12th July) and over the next coming months.

Black lives matter
During June there has been an increasing spotlight on our BAME colleagues. The recent global events have highlighted issues regarding health inequalities within particular population groups, which was previously raised by Marmot and Allen (2014). You can catch up with a recent point of view from Professor Partha Kar in the BMJ.

NHS Pride
The NHS has celebrated LGBT+ Pride month during June. NHS England and NHS Improvement’s LGBT+ Staff Network is organising “NHS Virtual Pride” on Friday 26th June. They extended this celebration to the whole of the NHS, through all NHS LGBT+ Staff Networks in regions and Trusts, for all LGBT NHS staff and allies: #NHSRainbowPride.

ADA conference
The American Diabetes Association’s annual conference went virtual this year: #ADAgoesvirtual. This was the first diabetes conference to do so. It should have taken place in Chicago but, obviously, due to the COVID-19 situation this was cancelled. We have, therefore, been able to enjoy the content from the comfort of our own living rooms and also following the Twitter feed if you didn’t pay the entrance fee: #ADA2020. Whilst we haven’t had any problems with jet lag, the tiredness struggle is still real due to the significant time difference between the UK and USA.

There have been some very interesting sessions, including “Weekly basal insulin – The wave of the Future”, the brain’s role in hypoglycaemia and the many trials to show the benefits of SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists, to name just a few.

We would like to congratulate FEND President Anne-Marie Felton, who was awarded the distinguished prize of the ADA: the Harold Rifkin Award for Distinguished International Service in the Cause of Diabetes. We were also very pleased that we were number 6 in the top 10 influencers on Twitter.

Diabetes 101
The Diabetes 101 team were pleasantly surprised when they opened the recent Update Journal from Diabetes UK to see that they had been featured in an article. The team have been taking a much-needed break after posting their survey at the end of May. They have reviewed and analysed the data and are currently in the process of writing an article about their experience. Keep your eyes peeled as the team will be back online soon.

NHS Diabetes Programme
The NHS Diabetes Programme launched a self-management and education platform just in time for Diabetes Week. The website is for all people with diabetes over the age of 18 in England. Register for free at

NHS England had a commitment to provide access to the FreeStyle Libre to 20% of people with diabetes. Libre uptake has now reached >30% across the whole of England, showing that access to technology is improving. Nearly 75000 people are now able to benefit from the technology.

I know that diabetes teams are getting back to their usual day jobs and have begun to organise appointments again using the different virtual clinic platforms. We are using Attend Anywhere and have completed our first two appointments this week. These were a 50:50 success, as only one person turned up for their appointment. Insulin pump starts are continuing, using video calls with the company representative. Healthcare professionals are adjusting to how we can support people with diabetes using the technology we have available.

The weather has been particularly bad during the first couple of weeks of June, with torrential rain and thunder storms. However, as I complete the finishing touches to this newsletter, the sun is shining and it is already 20°C at 8 am, so I hope you have all managed to enjoy some of the sunny weather.

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