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University’s double success at diabetes awards

Dr Rose Stewart

A Swansea University honorary senior tutor and a master’s student have been honoured for their dedication to diabetes care at a major UK healthcare awards.

Dr Rose Stewart, who lectures on the MSc Diabetes Practice course at the University’s Medical School, won the NHS Wales outstanding contribution to diabetes award at the Quality in Care (QiC) Diabetes Awards.

She also picked up the prestigious Unsung Hero award at the ceremony, which was held virtually this year.

The judges described Dr Stewart, who is principal psychologist at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health board, as one of the brightest stars in the field of diabetes care.

They said her work had demonstrated just how individuals can drive change and make a real difference to patient’s lives.

Alongside her clinical work Dr Stewart developed Talking Type 1, a range of self-help books for adults and children who live with diabetes, and the parents of children living with diabetes. Two of the books from the range were highly commended in the Mind & Body Healthy Together Award category.

She said: “Psychological distress is the most prevalent complication of living with diabetes, yet it consistently remains the most under resourced area of care – working in diabetes psychology can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle, so it’s a complete surprise and a huge honour to gain this level of recognition.”

Also honoured was Swansea University student Vicki Alabraba who is studying for a MSc in Diabetes Practicealongside her duties as a community diabetes specialist nurse at Liverpool Diabetes Partnership (Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust).

She was named Diabetes Professional of the Year for using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, webpages and Tik Tok to share her expertise and enthusiasm to keep patients and carers motivated in self-management. She has also used the approach to support primary care colleagues involved with diabetes care, prompting the judges to describe her work as inspirational.

Vicki said: “Liverpool has a very diverse population which means support and education needs to be innovative, easily accessible and tailored to different communities.

“Using videos, social media platforms can help to raise awareness, signpost and make education fun. It also allows for a wider engagement for both people living with diabetes and other health care professionals involved in diabetes care.

“People living with diabetes spend on average three hours per year with a healthcare professional, meaning that for the rest of the time they have to self-manage this complicated condition.

“My aim is to bridge the gap with easy to access, innovative resources to empower people with diabetes to continue their self-management journey. I am very proud to have been nominated by my colleagues and it was a totally unexpected win.”

The QiC awards have been running since 2011 and recognise good practice in patient care and joint working with the aim of highlighting good practices and allowing these to be shared on a national level.

This year’s awards saw several other Welsh successes including the SEREN Connect educational programme scooping two awards, and the Prevention, Remission & Early Diagnosis prize going to a collaboration between Cardiff and Vale UHB and Swansea Bay UHB.