Tayside Health Board scoops national award for diabetes campaign

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Debbie Voigt (centre) with her colleagues in the diabetes service

NHS Tayside has won a prestigious national award for raising awareness of a complication of diabetes.

The team was presented with the Quality in Care Diabetes Excellence Award for its management of a “significant campaign” during Hypo Awareness Week, which highlighted hypoglycaemia where blood sugar drops below normal levels.

NHS Tayside beat 22 other entries in the competition to become joint winners with Liverpool Diabetes Partnership.

Judges praised the team for launching a new initiative called ‘Adverse Medication Event – hypoglycaemia not resolved within one hour’, to address the historical challenge of hypoglycaemia being reported at the hospital.

Hypoglycaemic events, more commonly known as hypos, occur when glucose in the blood falls to a low level, and symptoms can include drowsiness, sweating, trembling, hunger, confusion and unconsciousness.

A total of 549 hospitals and medical centres across the country took part in the campaign, sponsored by Sanofi, which took place between 24 and 30 September.

During the week, NHS Tayside’s diabetes specialist nurse Debbie Voigt visited acute wards in Ninewells Hospital to engage with staff using blood glucose data, hypoglycaemia information, a hypoglycaemia board game and a staff questionnaire to identify strategies for improvement.  A hypo box audit was also carried out.

Debbie said, “This campaign has helped us raise awareness with multidisciplinary healthcare professionals to highlight the importance of managing and preventing hypoglycaemia in a timely and efficient manner.

“In Tayside we benefit from electronic linkage of blood glucose meters and SCI Diabetes which provides glycaemic data for all inpatient with diabetes. We look forward to tracking this data to demonstrate improvement following this campaign.”

Becky Reeve, Head of Professional Relations at Sanofi Diabetes and Cardiovascular, said, “The team showed a real commitment to go above and beyond to ensure important messages about hypoglycaemia were communicated. They obviously care a great deal about what they do and the patients that they look after.

“The passion, dedication and innovation displayed by NHS Tayside during Hypo Awareness Week were exceptional. We applaud their efforts.”

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