Ahead of the seventh Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes awards in October, PharmaTimes speaks to judging chair and clinician Paru King to learn more about diabetes care in the UK

What do you think is lacking in diabetes care in the UK at the moment?

Like the rest of the NHS we’re very under-resourced, and that produces challenges. Initiatives such as QiC Diabetes are great for showing how you can use resources more indicatively and efficiently.

However you can only be efficient up to a point, and sometimes you just need more resources, otherwise you’ll end up firefighting all the time. There’s a rising epidemic of diabetes and there needs to be prevention strategies beyond what we have – a real drive for public education to try and prevent obesity, and supporting people more to take the initiative with their conditions.

Are there any particular groups of patients you feel need more attention in diabetes care?

It’s hard to single out any particular group because every individual has their own needs.

For young people it’s a challenging time going from childhood to adulthood in any case, without diabetes on top of that. In the years I’ve been involved in the QiC Diabetes awards there’s been some very good ideas about how to ease that process.

Meanwhile, if you look at pregnancy, the thing that could really make a difference there is pre-conception care. You can develop good services, but you really need to persuade people to access them, and that is a real challenge. Again, that’s a public health initiative – it’s about persuading people to plan their pregnancies.

There are also a lot of strategies to try and reduce foot amputations, but again it’s about educating people to prevent problems and there’s a lot more to be done there.

Is there anything in particular patents are saying they want to see?

In the organisations I work with we do involve people with diabetes in developments and listen to what they have to say, and we do know that anybody with a chronic condition values being respected and having continuity of care. Sometimes with our busy way of working we’re not as good at that as we could be. It’s about trying to change the ways of practice. Shared decision-making with the patient is always possible – irrespective of the person’s intellectual or other abilities, there’s always ways of bringing them into the conversation, and of course they will always have their own opinions. It’s about you as a clinician presenting things in a manner that help you engage that person in the discussion.

What is pharma’s role in improving diabetes care in the UK?

Pharma can promote more education initiatives or fund these types of awards – if we didn’t have Sanofi’s support for QiC Diabetes it would be nothing. I think the industry have changed their ethos and are supporting more developments than before. They have non-promotional groups within the industry whose primary aim is to support clinicians and improve diabetes care, and splitting the non-promotional groups off from the promotional groups has been great. I do see them as a partner. You get their expertise and a whole other perspective from them and it’s really invaluable to get that input.​

Paru King has been a consultant in diabetes and endocrinology in Derby since 2000. She has been the clinical lead for integrated care in diabetes since 2011, and currently leads integrated diabetes services in Derby City using a model of care that has gained national recognition and is being promoted as an example of best practice by Diabetes UK. She has been involved in a number of national projects with NHS Diabetes.